James Sherwin-Smith, CEO of Growth Street, comments ahead of the 2016 Budget on what the Chancellor must announce to improve the fortunes of SMEs in the UK, “All the signs indicate that this will be a tax raising Budget but the Chancellor would be ill advised to increase the tax burden on SMEs at this time, especially when they have been one of the main drivers in the country’s continued economic recovery.
“It is vital that the Chancellor puts small businesses at the heart of his Budget on Wednesday to ensure they continue to flourish. Accessing appropriate finance on suitable terms continues to be a huge problem for SMEs and the Government can do more to remove unnecessarily bureaucratic hurdles. There has been some indication that the mandatory SBEEA (2015) bank referral scheme will be delayed until later this year. This, frankly is a huge mistake and will only deepen the misery of small business owners seeking suitable finance, especially when the CMA has also just announced that it is elongating the timetable to conclude its inquiry and proposed remedies to resolve the identified adverse effects on competition that prevail in SME banking markets.
“While the volume of available finance is extremely important to SMEs, Growth Street also calls on the Chancellor to remember that the quality of finance is as important, if not more so. Transparency in the SME finance sector remains low, meaning that many small firms have little clarity over the true cost of the financial solution they obtain. Growth Street has launched the #APR4SMEs campaign to combat this growing problem and have made a submission to the Treasury ahead of the Budget to ensure that all financial products targeted at SMEs carry an APR. This single measure would result in a fairer, lower cost, transparent and more competitive market for SMEs seeking commercial finance, with a positive impact on growth and job creation.”