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This should be the Autumn Budget 2017 priority for SMEs

There is a lot of noise around business rates, and rightly so. But the main Autumn Budget 2017 issue that the small businesses should be lobbying the Chancellor about is late payment. Alternative finance can help SMEs manage.

Late payment is not a new problem for small business owners, far from it, but it is one for which nobody can seemingly find a solution. Campaigns and initiatives come and go, and there has even been legislative action, yet the reports that detail billions being owed to small business just keep on coming.

Earlier this year, a study from BACs stated that SMEs were owed a staggering £14 billion by consumers. The report said that the picture had improved slightly in five years, but the fact remains that small business are being denied timely access to an eye-watering amount of money at a time when they could hardly need it more.

According to new research from the Federation of Master Builders, over two thirds of construction-industry SMEs are not paid within 30 days. This is having a knock-on effect on payment to suppliers and confidence to grow. Tellingly, 16% of the companies questioned stated that late payment has led to them having to borrow to continue operations, while almost 10% said it had put them out of business.

Think what a billion-pound boost could do for the health of the SME sector, which is battling severe headwinds in the shape of a range of policy-led costs and Brexit-borne market uncertainty. The government wants SMEs to drive forward the country’s economy and if it is realistic about this ambition, it needs to act on key issues. This is why properly tackling late payment should be top of the list of Autumn Budget 2017 demands.

Whatever the Chancellor does on 22 November, alternative finance can help small businesses manage cashflow and invest in the future. This is how a Sussex-based manufacturing company used invoice finance to facilitate growth while safeguarding cashflow.

The continued growth of the British Business Bank, whose service offerings include alternative finance, is further testament to the role non-bank finance can play. The Bank’s small business lending recently surpassed £3 billion.

There are plenty of SME-sector issues that the Chancellor needs to consider, and business rates is undoubtedly an urgent one, but late payment can unlock billions in capital. Whatever happens, alternative finance can help small business owners press ahead with their plans.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact us on 01903 602211 or info@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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