Government has failed us say business leaders

With many people now calling for a General Election, research conducted by Business Scene, the online business event community, found that 82% of SME business owners believe the Government could and should have done more to help SMEs in this recession. However when asked if a change in Government would make a difference, a third of SME business owners answered ‘yes’, with 29% saying ‘maybe’, but 30% believe the situation would be the same if the Conservatives were in power.

Sir Alan Sugar to take on teenagers for Junior Apprentice

The BBC has confirmed that it is to launch a junior version of hit business reality show The Apprentice, in which Sir Alan Sugar will get to point his finger and tell 16- and 17-year-olds “You’re fired!”

Junior Apprentice, which will air next year as a five-part BBC1 series, will feature 10 candidates and follow the same format as the main show, although some adjustments will be made to take account of the age of those taking part.

Accountants hail increased flexibility on tax

The Government’s decision to let businesses offset trading losses against the tax they already owe has been welcomed by accountants.

They have praised HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for giving businesses more breathing space, but questioned why the taxman is not being more rigorous in his assessment of each venture’s ability to pay.

Businesses see growth times ahead

Small businesses have adopted a resilient outlook and a determination to survive the economic crisis, according to a study by O2 with 20 per cent forecasting growth with maintaining – cash flow is the greatest threat.

Small Business Confidence Levels
O2’s Small Business Confidence Index, carried out by business research company trends Research, questioned nearly 3,000 small business owners to gauge how the community is responding to the current economic climate in the first quarter of 2009.

Government urged to increase scrutiny of banks lending to small businesses

Business owners struggling to access finance from major lenders are sceptical about support from the Government, despite its commitment to scrutinise the behaviour of banks via its Small Business Lending Monitoring Panel. The panel, which comprises officials from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the Bank of England and HM Treasury, has met on just five occasions since it was set up in November 2008.

2009 Budget must support small businesses hit by declining confidence

Small firms fear a tax rise is heading their way in next month’s budget – to pay for the government’s emergency economic programme, according to the latest survey from the Forum of Private Business.

In its latest quarterly Referendum survey, 82% of members of the FPB said they feared the tax rises and slammed the government’s response so far to the recession as ‘ineffective’ by 66% of, and ‘harmful’ by 13%.