Only a third of UK SMEs think the 2016 Budget will be good for business

Just 35 per cent of UK SMEs believe this year’s Budget will be good for their business, highlighting a lack of faith in any measures George Osborne may seek to put in place on Wednesday. For businesses with fewer than 50 employees just over a quarter believe the Budget will help their business.

Underlining the general sense of disillusionment among SMEs, 33 per cent of the survey sample said they were not expecting any helpful initiatives at all in the Budget. Once again, frustration levels were especially high among businesses with fewer than 50 employees, of which 40% had no positive expectations.

Anil Stocker, Co-founder and CEO of MarketInvoice who commissioned the research, said: “The Chancellor has lost his audience. Business owners are juggling a thousand different problems every day, and have no faith that the Government will find ways to help them out. With so many businesses expecting nothing useful at all from the Budget, it might be time for the Chancellor to go back to the drawing board.”

When asked about their priorities for the Budget, SMEs were clear on what they would be watching for, and what they’re not interest in.

18 per cent said clamping down on late payments would make a difference with 17 per cent suggested a further drop in Corporation Tax for businesses making only marginal profits. There was little support for the creation of the Small Business Commissioner role to resolve disputes and give advice – with only 7 per cent saying this would have a positive impact.

When asked about less likely policy announcements they would support, more than a quarter of SMEs said ‘scrapping Corporation Tax for SMEs and making sure big business (e.g. Google) pays more’ was their ‘wildest dream from the budget to help impact, grow, and develop their business’.

This was followed in order of priority by ‘force the banks (particularly those bailed out by the government) to make low interest loans more freely available to businesses’, highlighted by 25 per cent of respondents and ‘create a single tax that covers VAT, Corporation and National Insurance’ supported by 18 per cent.

Stocker added: “Small businesses want real action that affects their everyday business lives in a clear and positive way. They don’t want the same old story trotted out. They want new ideas and new impetus for their business. It’s time for the Chancellor to deliver results for our small businesses.”