Budget response: big guns love it but it's a miss for small business

Small business bosses feel the Budget will have no real impact on the day-to-day running of their companies - despite its pro-business styling.

by Dave Waller
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012
That’s according to the Federation for Small Business, which surveyed its members and found that 45% said the Budget would have no impact on them at all. Which probably has to go down as a bit of an anti-climax, given that the PM has been so keen to position himself as the small businessman's best friend.

That said, 31% did think it’d have a positive impact. As for the most consequential measures, the members highlighted the reduction in Corporation Tax, the increase in the Approved Mileage Allowance and the freeze on new domestic regulations as the areas that would affect their business the most.

More positive was their take on how it’d affect the economy: here 39% thought the Budget would have a positive impact, compared to only 18% that believed it would be a negative thing.
But the over-riding message here is that while small business doesn't feel the Budget will be harmful, it didn’t go far enough to make things better either: ‘The missing link in the Budget was measures to help all UK businesses to take on staff and grow their business,’ said FSB chairman John Walker. ‘This could have been done easily through extending the National Insurance Contributions holiday to micro-businesses.’ Perhaps that explains why the PM has been so keen to throw his oar in with the StartUp Britain campaign – if someone else reckons they've found a key that could help kick-start enterprise, then he's going to want to help wave it around.

But before the PM and chancellor go crying into their ties about how they can’t get anything right, they’ll be encouraged by how well the Budget has gone down with bigger businesses. Barclays surveyed more than 400 senior executives of UK companies with turnover above £5m, and found that 92% of business leaders felt the Budget would make the UK a more favourable place to do business over the long term. 88% said its business measures will have a positive impact on public-sector growth, and more than three quarters reckon the Government now offers a clear plan for achieving that growth.

The other good news for the PM, as he's no doubt preparing more unappealing announcements, is that companies are willing to take some pain in the short term to bring the deficit down: 85% of those senior execs said the Government should stick to its guns with its plans to cut spending. Although they may wish to protect their windows if they're going to go round saying that...

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