Budget 2018 – ‘Brilliant Budget’ for small businesses, says small firms’ champion

Small business champions welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget today, hailing his help for SMEs.

Phil Fleming, spokesperson for the Federation of Small Businesses, described it as “a brilliant Budget”.

He said: “It was the most enjoyable Budget speech I have ever listened to in my life.

“He shut up the Opposition, considering what he had to juggle with. It is a brilliant Budget.”

He said there wasn’t a great deal for SMEs, but the biggest area of concern was addressed by help on business rates, which will be cut by a third, saving around 90% of small firms in England an average of £8,000 a year.

Mr Fleming said: “This will help a lot of businesses stay open until next year, and not close this year.

“There’s only so much he can do but it will be some help. He has tried to jump in ahead of the 2020 business rates revaluation.

“I think the high street will never come back, but the Chancellor has tried to put a bit of optimism into the economy.”

He said the help for councils to convert empty shops into residential dwellings will help a lot of small building companies.

Mr Fleming said the Chancellor has helped the small businessman: “It is a boost to small people. I believe there is a right to be self-employed and the Chancellor has recognised that.”

Even the increase in the National Living Wage, adding £690 per per year person, did not put a dampener on the Budget for Mr Fleming: “The National Living Wage is not the minimum wage,” he said.

“I can’t say there’s anything negative at all in this Budget.

Other areas of help for small businesses included the freezing of fuel duties for a ninth year, which is worth a saving of around £1,000 a year for drivers.

Frozen duties on beer, cider and spirits over the next year will also help bars, pubs and restaurants.

Lawrence Jones, chief executive of Manchester-based tech giant UKFast, welcomed the Chancellor’s moves to raise more tax from tech companies with a turnover of more than £500m.

He said: “The Chancellor talks of the hard work of the British people, but the hard work of our businesses and workers is completely undermined when we lose billions of pounds in tax revenue from the US tech giants.

“It’s way beyond time for action on the pitiful amount of tax paid by the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Google, so I congratulate the Chancellor on taking this first step.

“If all UK businesses took advantage of the tax rules that apply to off-shore businesses, the country would collapse. It’s the tax-paying entrepreneur that props up this country and it’s time for these tech giants to pay their share.

“As business leaders we have a responsibility to give back to the country and to nurture the community around us.

“I look at the UK’s booming tech industry and I’m proud of the way we are able to contribute, but it has to be a level playing field if we want to achieve the strong digital future that Hammond wants to see.”

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