Forum of Private Business gives Hammond 5 out of 10 for his pre-Brexit budget

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has given the Chancellor 5 out of 10 for his last budget before Britain leaves the EU.

Managing Director Ian Cass said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s moves to support High Street’s up and down the country, especially the commitment to cutting Business Rates by a third for some, but ask that this move is extended beyond the two years he announced.”

While Brexit uncertainty is a real issue, Cass believes that productivity and late payments are the real issues holding the British economy back.

He added: “We need urgent action from the government relating to late payments. Small businesses are struggling because the larger businesses they supply are delaying their payments and we will continue to lobby both the Department for Business and the Small Business Commissioner to deal with this.

“On productivity, we welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to replace European funding for the British Business Bank if needed, and to extend Start Up Loans until 2021, but he could have gone further to support small and medium sized businesses, including by simplifying our complicated tax system.”

The Forum is concerned that the government still shows little real understanding of small business and the issues it faces, and because of this is still focussed on the symptoms rather than dealing with the disease, the short term fixes rather than the long term issues.

Cass points to the Forum’s ‘Get Britain Trading’ campaign as something which can stimulate the economy.

“We are asking the government to support businesses across the country as we seek to make the most of Brexit. We want to make sure that all those businesses that have the opportunity to develop through exporting are doing so,” said Cass.