Few small firms believe Budget will be good for business

Less than a third of small firms in Scotland believe this week's Budget will bring benefits for them, according to a new survey.

MarketInvoice said George Osborne, who delivers his Budget on Wednesday, has 'lost his audience in Scotland'. Picture: Stuart C Wilson/Getty Images

The poll of 1,000 companies, by peer-to-peer business lender MarketInvoice, found only 9 per cent of those north of the Border believed that the Chancellor had done enough to help SMEs, and just 28 per cent expect this year’s Budget to be good for their business.

Meanwhile, 36 per cent said they were not expecting any helpful initiatives at all in the Budget, which will be delivered by George Osborne on Wednesday.

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Anil Stocker, chief executive and co-founder of MarketInvoice, said: “The Chancellor has lost his audience in Scotland.

“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 this year’s Budget, 22 per cent of SMEs said that incentivising them to take on apprentices by providing increased tax breaks and grants would make a difference, while 18 per cent suggested clamping down on late payments.

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In terms of “less likely” policy announcements they would support, 29 per cent said that forcing banks – particularly those bailed out by the taxpayer – to make low-interest loans more widely available was their “wildest dream from the Budget to help impact, grow, and develop their business”.

This was followed in order of priority by scrapping corporation tax for SMEs and making sure big businesses pays more, highlighted by 26 per cent of respondents and creating a single tax that covers VAT, corporation tax and national insurance, supported by 17 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.”