Majority of Small Firms Unhappy with Budget

Majority of Small Firms Unhappy with Budget

More than nine out of ten small firms were dissatisfied with this year’s Budget, a poll by the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has revealed.

In a survey of FPB members, just five per cent believed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alexander Darling’s, proposals would enable their business to grow. Nearly nine in ten (87%) said the Budget would not increase business or consumer confidence. Only ten per cent rated the Budget as “good” for small firms.

The disappointing results come despite the Chancellor’s attempts to win over the small business sector with measures such as a temporary increase in small business rate relief and an agreement with state-funded banks to boost lending.

Much of the discontent revealed in the FPB survey appeared to be directed at the planned hike in National Insurance contributions for employers. Nearly half (45%) of those questioned predicted a negative impact on jobs because of the rise.

According to FPB chief executive Phil Orford, there was a sense among business owners that the Budget had “fallen short” of expectations;

“Smaller firms don’t feel that the Chancellor laid the foundations for a better environment in which to do business.”

In a separate poll of 1,200 company owners by the Institute of Directors, 45% said the overall impact of the Budget on the economy would be negative.

However, responding to the criticism, an HM Treasury spokesman said that the Budget had focused on providing specific support measures for small and medium-sized businesses.

“As the Chancellor made clear, our long-term future depends on supporting these firms, as they will provide the jobs and prosperity of the future,” he said.

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