Let’s hope Alastair Darling is listening. A month until chancellor Alastair Darling’s most eagerly-anticipated Budget yet, lobby group The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has issued an impassioned plea: ‘Don’t kick us when we’re down, help us!’
OK so those weren’t the FPB’s exact words, but the sentiments of its pre-Budget request backed by a survey of members showing that 82% feared further tax rises.
Potential hikes in business rates and the cost of utilities, red tape and late payment were also chief concerns voiced, while the FPB has also urged the government to further increase access to finance as small businesses continue to struggle with the effects of recession.
“We are urging the government to implement short- and longer-term strategies to help bolster cashflow, remove costly barriers to growth, protect key staff and stimulate trade,” said chief executive Phil Orford. “At present, most business owners are receiving confusing messages from the government and the banks."
Smarta expects to hear similar pleas from other business orgs in the coming weeks heaping the pressure on Mssrs. Brown, Darling and Mandelson for action – or, at least, inaction.
In Smarta’s exclusive interview with Lord Mandelson by Theo Paphitis last week, the government again pledged to support businesses out of recession but the Budget looks set to be a true test of its word.
And, let’s face it, you can understand the concern from lobby groups that, despite the pledges, there are plenty of examples in the past when business has picked up the tab for a populist, vote-winning Budget – NICs hike and Capital Gains Tax, anyone?
Image from Mark Brocklehurst on Flikr