They had just been told they could temporarily access billions in new finance, pay less tax and even delay paying taxes they already owe. But business owners and senior managers gave the plans an emphatic thumbs-down.
45% of respondents were cynical about the offer to spread business tax payments, suggesting there will be too many catches, while 29% said they were cautious and unsure whether they would take up the opportunity. Just 27% viewed it as a welcome relief, but 25% said the delay could be a ‘life-saver’.
The Small Business Finance Scheme was also viewed with cynicism, with 44% saying they would not expect to take advantage of the scheme because there were bound to be ‘millions of catches’. 36% said they didn’t need to take a loan, but 17% said they would check out the possibility and a tiny minority 2% said the facility could be invaluable.
The hundreds of small and medium sized company bosses told Trends Research rejected future changes to National Insurance, with 77% viewing it negatively or very negatively. Changes to Income Tax and higher rates for people with six-figure incomes provoked a much more mixed response, but no less than 93 felt the temporary reduction in VAT would not help their business. The deferred rise in corporation tax was given a half-hearted welcome, with 43% saying the rate was still too high and 61% saying their profits were so depressed the impact would be limited.
Pain for years to come
Only 1% of the 816 business leaders felt the Chancellor had pulled off a great success and just 6% said he had risen in their estimation. 22% felt he had probably taken on too much debt, while a clear majority of 61% said they were scared of the long term impact. Not one felt the moves would help the UK avoid a recession, and just 11% felt it would make the recession less severe. 9% felt the benefits would be short-lived, and no less than 60% said the UK “will feel the pain for years to come”.