FSB Scotland: Budget slim pickings leave smaller firms short changed

Responding to today’s UK Budget, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scotland Policy Chair, Andrew McRae, said: “Today’s budget doesn’t offer much practical help to smaller firms worrying about their costs and cashflow.  Many will be disappointed at a lack of headline measures to provide the immediate support they so badly need.

“There was nothing, for example, on business energy prices once the current support scheme stops at the end of the month.  We needed something better than the, simultaneous insignificant and expensive, current replacement plan.

“Neither did we hear anything about cashflow and tackling late payment – a move that would get money, money that’s already been earned, moving round the economy and working.

“One bright spot, though, was on fuel duty.  Firms – especially those in our more remote and rural areas, or who need to travel the country to do business – will breathe a sigh of relief that it’s been frozen for another year following calls from FSB and others.”

Mr McRae continued: “There were a number of longer-term policy announcements – such as investment zones – and it will be interesting to see their impact on the Scottish economy.  At least one of these zones will be in Scotland, so whatever’s brought forward, wherever it is, the local business community must be fully involved and on-board.

“And long-term action to help parents, those with health conditions and others who are no longer economically active back into the workforce is of course acutely needed.  Again, we’ll need to see exactly what today’s schemes will mean here in Scotland.

“What we do know is that, by enabling more people to return to work, smaller firms will have an even greater pool of talent to harness and find it easier to solve their recruitment woes.”