76% of SMEs believe Budget will have negative impact on their business, while 90% feel the Government favours larger enterprises
More than three-quarters (76%) of small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK believe the budget will have a negative impact on their business, with a further 16% expecting it to have a no impact at all, and just 8% expecting a positive outcome.
That’s the gloomy picture painted by a new poll of SMEs in the retail and hospitality sector across the UK, carried out by technology company Epos Now in the days leading up to Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring announcement.
The lack of faith SMEs place in the budget announcement plays into a deep-rooted sense of neglect that many smaller businesses feel about Government policy towards them. Nearly two-thirds of SMEs polled (64%) said that the overall situation had not improved for them since the last Budget announcement in March 2016. Added to this, 92% of the survey sample said they felt that the Government favours large enterprises over SMEs.
Looking ahead, tax and business rates are the biggest worry for most SME’s, with three out of five respondents (60%) believing that the high level of corporation and other business taxes is a major concern for their businesses. In addition to this, 52% of the polled businesses labelled ‘measures to lessen the impact of a business rate rise’ as their one practical wish from the budget.
The same percentage said a complete freeze on business tax would be ‘their biggest hope from an alternative budget’ to help impact, grow and develop their business.
Jacyn Heavens, CEO of Epos Now, said: “SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy. Even though there is pessimism surrounding the budget, I’m optimistic that our SMEs will keep innovating and allowing them to grow.
“Their entrepreneurial ideas and willingness to embrace innovation help fuel dynamic growth. That’s why it’s so important that Government listens to their concerns and focuses more on meeting their needs. The budget provides a great opportunity to the Government to strengthen their focus on small business right away.
“Philip Hammond needs to seize the opportunity to show he understands the issues, concerns and ambitions of smaller businesses and is prepared to put measures in place to help them address their concerns and achieve their core objectives. The budget offers him a great chance to kick-start a more positive engagement with SMEs. He mustn’t let it pass him by.”