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Small firms want the Budget to tackle the deficit

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Two new surveys have revealed that large numbers of smaller businesses regard the reduction of the national debt as a priority for the emergency Budget.

In a poll carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), some 93 per cent of respondents said they wanted to see stringent plans for cutting government borrowing announced on 22 June.

The survey of 1,300 FSB members also found that two-thirds of firms would welcome a fall in fuel duty and over a third (36 per cent) an increase in the personal tax threshold. 

Four out of ten reported that an extension to the Time to Pay scheme announced in the last Budget would have a positive impact.

Some 46 per cent supported regulations that would oblige larger companies to pay invoices within 30 days.

John Walker, the FSB’s national chairman, said: “We welcome the news that the government will set out a clear spending review in the coming weeks ahead of the Budget as this is an issue of concern to many small business owners.

“Small firms are keen to see how the government will tackle the deficit while also ensuring businesses can grow, further strengthening economic recovery. We urge the government not to place further taxation burdens on small businesses at a time when the recovery is fragile and would like to see measures announced which will promote business growth and encourage employment.”

In another survey, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) said that 77 per cent of respondents also cited cutting the deficit as an immediate priority for the government.

The issue emerged as the single most prominent concern among SMEs polled in the FPB survey.

Stronger regulation of utility companies and banks was the next most popular measure on the list, winning the backing of 62 per cent of respondents.

This was followed by simplification of the tax system, with 61 per cent.

Thomas Parry, the FPB’s research and projects manager, commented: “The one clear and consistent message to come out of this survey is that business owners want to see the deficit dealt with, and dealt with fast.

“Many small businesses will be hit by tax rises and spending cuts, just like everyone else. However, I think our members take the view that the economy can’t continue servicing such a dangerous level of debt and it needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later, for the whole country’s sake.”