FSB Scotland responds to tough Autumn Statement

Responding to this morning’s UK Government Autumn Statement, delivered by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scotland Policy Chair, Andrew McRae, said: “Getting the public finances back on track while not stifling growth with tax hikes was never going to be an easy balance to strike.  But that didn’t make the announcements any easier to hear.

“Small businesses have spent months watching their margins vanish due to rampant inflation. It’s alarming, therefore, that the VAT threshold will be held at £85,000 – a real terms cut – which will see more small traders dragged into the system against their will.

“Businesses, like households, are extremely anxious about sharp, unaffordable rises in their energy bills. The Government must publish details about what support firms can expect when the initial term of the Energy Bills Relief Scheme comes to an end in April. Any targeting has to be based on business size, not particular sectors.

“We need to see what impact the £1.5bn in Barnett consequentials will have on the Scottish Government’s plans – especially around December’s Budget.  At the very least, they should now be able to reverse some of the cuts to employability schemes and economic development.

“It’s vital that all spheres of government enable businesses to grow, innovate and overcome bureaucratic hurdles.  That is the key to getting local economies and communities out of this crisis and back to growth.”