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Small businesses question impact of the Budget

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While the Budget may not have any adverse effects, small businesses have voiced scepticism over the benefits it will deliver, according to a recent snapshot survey.

The poll, carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), found that almost half of the 800 firms questioned believed that the Budget would have no real impact on the day-to-day running of their businesses.

Only 31 per cent thought the Chancellor’s measures would have a positive effect.

Four in 10 (42 per cent) of respondents said that they would be no worse off – but crucially no better off – as a result of the actions taken by the Chancellor.

Of the third of members who consider they will be better off, more than a half (54 per cent) claimed they will get a £1 to £1,000 boost to cash-flow in the next year.  

The reduction in corporation tax, the increase in the approved mileage allowance and the freeze on new domestic regulations were among the moves that would lead to the greatest benefits for firms, the poll revealed.

A third (39 per cent) judged that the Budget would help boost the economy, while 18 per cent thought the measures would have a negative bearing.

Although more than a half of respondents welcomed the introduction of a fair fuel stabiliser, the FSB itself questioned whether the mechanism goes far enough to protect businesses from volatile price increases. 

John Walker, the FSB’s national chairman, commented: “The Budget was pro-business and we are pleased that the Government has listened to some of our concerns and has extended small business rate relief and scrapped the planned 1p rise in fuel duty and the escalator. But, as the results from the poll show, the Budget has not hurt small businesses, but it won’t help them to grow either.

“While we welcome the introduction of Enterprise Zones across parts of the UK, the missing link in the Budget was measures to help all UK businesses to take on staff and grow their business. This could have been done easily through extending the national insurance contributions holiday to micro-businesses.”