Red Tape a Budget Priority

A comprehensive review of business regulations and a simpler tax system are the priorities for small firms in this year’s Budget, business groups have said.

The demands follow confirmation from HM Treasury that this year’s Budget speech will take place on 24 March.

Forum of Private Business (FPB) spokesman, Chris Gorman, said that even the most minor pieces of regulation that affect small firms should be reviewed.

“The Government needs to sit down and look at every piece of legislation that affects small businesses to see if it is really necessary. The Better Regulation Executive is doing a reasonable job of simplifying things, but it’s quite piecemeal.”

Gorman added that the imminent General Election would be making the Chancellor more aware of small firms’ needs.

“Small business owners form a very powerful collective voice, and form quite a large part of the electorate,” he said.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) spokeswoman, Sophie Kummer, said that reforming the tax system was a priority.

“Tax is often the one thing that puts people off starting their own business and confuses existing firms. So we’d like to see simplification to make it easier for start-ups so they know exactly what taxes they should be paying and how and when they are supposed to be paying them.

“The Government should advertise what it is they are expecting businesses to do regarding tax and where businesses can go to get the advice that they need. We also want to stop the National Insurance increase, as that’s the key obstacle to small firms employing more staff.”

The FSB also called on the Government to review the flat rate of VAT that the smallest firms are charged, raise the level at which businesses must register for VAT and cancel the 1% rise in corporation tax planned for 2011.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) would not comment on the proposals.

“We cannot speculate at this point about what may or may not be in the Budget,”

said BIS spokeswoman, Sarah Davies.

“Alistair Darling will write the speech and it is not for us to comment.”

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