THE leader of lobby group the Forum of Private Business (FPB) says the Government must introduce “further tax and investment stimulants” to help small firms to grow.
In his New Year message to members of the Cheshire organisation, chief executive Phil Orford said the Chancellor needed to support small firms so they could in turn help the UK economy to grow.
He said: “With talk of an unprecedented ‘triple dip’ recession, it is no wonder that confidence remains low, businesses hoarding cash and investment intentions distinctly muted.
“Despite this, many small business owners possess the courage and creativity to progress despite adverse trading conditions. What we need during 2013 is a clear national economic strategy which maintains a focus on deficit reduction, lower borrowing and an improvement in our balance of payments, whilst mapping out a visionary approach to medium and long-term enterprise friendly policies to give all business the confidence to invest.
“This must be the focus of the Budget on March 20, with further tax and investment stimulants to encourage businesses to spend some of the £700bn of cash on their balance sheets.”
Mr Orford said the Government also needed to encourage banks to lend. He said: “For too long now, the economy has struggled due to a lack of affordable credit being available to businesses and consumers.
“Despite a number of Government initiatives, the latest of which is the Funding for Lending Scheme, the main banks continue to disable growth by applying unreasonable criteria to their assessments of risk and credit worthiness.
“They are institutionally risk adverse, anti-competitive and fail to grasp the scale of the damage they have done, and continue to do. More radical action must be taken to force change now, rather in years to come”.
And Mr Orford also called for the Government to tackle bureaucracy affecting businesses.
He said: “Despite government rhetoric to reduce the burden of red tape on businesses, 2013 sees some significant amendments to legislation and HMRC rules which business owners need plan for immediately.
“The timetable for Auto-enrolment rolls on and small businesses should start preparing now for 2015 implementation. Real Time Information (RTI), that requires companies to report payroll information monthly rather than annually, creates a huge additional burden for businesses with its implementation in April 2013.
“And with significant amendments to employment legislation, employers need to be aware of how these changes will affect how they manage staff.”