Government urged to put small businesses first

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is lobbying the Government to put small businesses at the top of its agenda for 2005 and has identified a list of issues to be addressed.

“The Government needs to recognise that small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and take steps to ease the burdens that bear disproportionately on them,” said FPB chief executive Nick Goulding. “The limited human and financial resources they have to call upon mean that fiscal and regulatory changes impact far more heavily on small businesses than their larger counterparts.”

The group wants the Government, and in particular Chancellor Gordon Brown, to address the following concerns:

  • The impact of increases in National Insurance Contributions and their effect on the cost of employment.
  • A simplification of the rules on VAT. The Chancellor must consider implementing a reduced rate for labour-intensive services.
  • Retirement relief on capital gains tax needs to be restored as the current rules lead to a depleted retirement fund for owners of small businesses.
  • The deferred rise in fuel duty must be scrapped to help small businesses remain competitive.
  • The current level of business rate impacts disproportionately on small businesses and the introduction of new Small Business Rates Relief thresholds will do little to alleviate the situation.
  • Integrate National Insurance and PAYE. Administering two sets of regulation increases red tape for small businesses but integrating them would save time and money.
  • Increase the inheritance tax threshold and broaden business relief. Building capital is important for both establishing businesses and enabling them to survive.
  • Abolish or significantly reduce Insurance Premium Tax on Compulsory Insurance to alleviate the burden of Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance, which has increased by as much as 400%.
  • Make self-certification of employment status simpler to ease many of the concerns surrounding IR35 and 19% non-corporate contributions.
  • Although the decision to abolish Stamp Duty Land Tax on premises in ‘development areas’ is welcome, yet more needs to be done to encourage expansion and boost productivity.

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