FSB: Policymakers right to pull out stops for smaller firms

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has delivered his first Budget, outlining a number of new measures to support smaller firms during the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, this morning the Bank of England cut interest rates and outlined new policies to help the economy.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland welcomed the new package of help for smaller firms and the self-employed.

Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scotland policy chair, said: “Smaller firms and the self-employed account for a million jobs north of the border. Therefore the UK Government and the Bank of England are right to pull out all the stops for smaller firms and the wider economy at this difficult moment.

“We cannot see good businesses go to the wall because of short-term cash flow difficulties caused by the coronavirus.

“By picking up the tab for the first 14 days of statutory sick pay, the UK Government is providing essential support for small employers. In addition, new small business funding schemes; a cut to interest rates; and new flexibility from HMRC should give many local enterprises much needed room to manoeuvre.

“Policymakers will need to keep these measures under review to ensure they deliver for firms at the sharp end.”

The Chancellor also outlined measures to expand business rates reliefs and to provide grants to businesses in receipt of small business rate relief in England.

Andrew McRae said: “Many local Scottish firms already receive important rates help from the Scottish Government. But we’ll be seeking early talks with Ministers in Edinburgh to urge them to investigate what else they can do, especially for businesses in hospitality and tourism, given the moves we’ve seen today. If the smallest firms in England are receiving one-off grants to help see them through, then we need to see decision-makers ensure that local businesses in Scotland don’t lose out.”