Autumn Statement: Small businesses demand Brexit clarity
ALMOST two thirds of the UK’s small businesses are concerned about their future post-Brexit, while the vast majority believe conditions are the same or worse since last year’s Autumn Statement.
A new survey from software firm Epos Now found that uncertainty around the UK’s departure from the EU was the biggest concern for small business owners. Furthermore, only 11 per cent of small businesses believe that things have improved for them since the Autumn Statement in 2015.
The most popular demand from the 100 small businesses surveyed was a cut in corporation tax (27 per cent), so they will have been pleased that Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed in Wednesday’s Statement that he will reduce corporation tax from 20 per cent to 17 per cent by 2020.
44 per cent of respondents said that the Conservative government’s record (from the 2010 coalition onwards) in supporting small businesses has been either excellent or good, with only 24 per cent saying it has been poor. However, 72 per cent still believe the government favours the needs of large enterprises over small businesses.
Only 29 per cent of small businesses said they were worried that President-elect Donald Trump would have a negative impact on the UK economy.
“It seems that reality is setting in and small businesses are recognising Brexit will be a long, drawn-out affair and the uncertainty will affect them,” said Jacyn Heavens, chief executive of Epos Now.
“Hammond is saying that the UK economy must be watertight to cope with the sharp challenges ahead, so he must bring in measures to benefit this important sector of the economy, to restore their confidence and give a message of support.”