Enterprise Nation's wishlist for how the Budget can help small businesses

Enterprise Nation's wishlist for how the Budget can help small businesses
Lizzie Slee

Posted: Mon 9th Mar 2020

We polled our community to find out what government policies would make the most difference to small businesses ahead of the 2020 Budget on the 11th of March.

Join us on Wednesday, 12:30pm to 1:30pm for the live small business reaction to the Budget. Click here.

1. Champion the role of small businesses

The government needs to recognise the positive and powerful role played by small firms in the economy. We hope the Budget will not introduce punitive tax grabs that position business owners and the self-employed as exploiting tax loopholes.

2. Embrace the power of the private sector in delivering business support

We think it's important to ensure funds channelled into business support programmes are more effectively measured.

The government currently spends around £3bn on small business support, according to the National Audit Office, without understanding whether such initiatives offer value for money. We feel the return on investment could be improved through working closer with private sector providers of business support.

After all, the government and private sector have the same aim, which is to ensure small businesses get access to the right support, at the right time.

A quality kitemark for advisers would help ensure small business owners get the best support. This could be in the form of membership of a professional trade body, such as the ICAEW, and proof of professional indemnity insurance.

3. Provide a taxation system supportive of all businesses

The government needs to commit to a simplified tax system that encourages business investment and growth and allows founders to focus on the business without having to deal with complicated tax arrangements. This should include simplifying VAT and business rates, with a comprehensive review completed by the end of 2020.

  • Cutting National Insurance tax on firms with fewer than 10 staff, so that salaries can be increased.

  • Remove health insurance as a benefit from the P11D expenses and benefits form: as offering such packages to employees becomes the norm, this should not be a taxable benefit.

  • Look at Entrepreneurs Relief as a signal that the government backs innovation and self-starters. For the majority of entrepreneurs that use it, the sums involved are often not in the millions and are compensation for a lifetime of financial risk.

4. Make up-skilling and self-improvement financially viable

Provide tax breaks for training staff and accessing advice. All evidence suggests those who invest in improving their enterprise skills build stronger, more sustainable businesses.

Activate the £20m commitment outlined in Philip Hammond's Budget of 2019 to build "regional peer networks". This should be offered in the form of grants for local groups to set up meet-ups to address one of the key issues for small business owners; loneliness and isolation.

5. Make using environmentally-friendly processes pay

Make using environmentally-friendly processes and materials pay, so small UK business can lead the field in innovation.

Consider reducing VAT on products that are better for the environment or increasing grants and R&D credits to firms looking to start or innovate in the area of sustainability.

Join us on Wednesday, 12:30pm to 1:30pm for the live small business reaction to the Budget. Click here.

Lizzie Slee
Head of media for Enterprise Nation and working to get issues and the positive stories in front of the media.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.