Jump to MenuJump to Main ContentJump to the SidebarJump to About A&T Business AssociatesJump to How A&T Business Associates are DifferentJump to How A&T Business Associates WorkJump to Our LinksJump to our Industry NewsJump to Legal InformationJump to Viewing OptionsJump to SearchJump to Site MapJump to Contact Page

What small businesses need from spring Budget 2020

The spring Budget 2020 represents a major chance for the government to give the small business sector a desperately needed boost. There is no shortage of issues to address, but what should be the priorities?

Small business confidence slipped significantly in 2019 on the back of a turgid political climate and downbeat trading conditions that saw a string of households brands disappear from the market, but a new government and a clearer path with regard to Brexit has given the sector something of a fillip in 2020.

According to the latest MHA Manufacturing and Engineering Report, confidence is returning to the manufacturing and engineering sector, despite Brexit and the widening skills gap. The 2020 spring Budget is an opportunity to build on this momentum. Figures from the Confederation of British Industry offer further evidence of this upturn.

So what do small business owners want the new Chancellor to focus on in his first Budget in March? Tackling the chronic problem of late payment and well-thought out reform of the business rates system have to be top of the list.

After a period in which major advances were made in the battle against late payers, efforts stalled at the end of 2019 as Paul Uppal was replaced as Small Business Commissioner and Brexit policy and the general election diverted energy and attention. The comments from Uppal after he left the post raised fresh doubts over the government’s commitment to finding a solution for the late payment problem.

Therefore, coherent and definitive action on late payment is much desired and it will be interesting to see if the new Chancellor has the same appetite to take on large corporations as his predecessor. The public reprimanding of Bombardier over late payment practices offers some hope.

There is a similar desire among small business owners to see definitive reform of the business rates system. Previous attempts at reorganising in the recent past have been largely unsuccessful, with some businesses complaining that high fees are stunting development potential or worse.

A root-and-branch reform of the business rates system was a Tory party election pledge and small business owners will be hoping that they keep this promise, and take meaningful action to address other issues.

At the same time, it is important that owners have their own plans in place, including a sound financial strategy, that will help them manage the impact of late payment, steep business rates and the raft of other policy and non-policy related costs. To do so, it is essential that they are aware of all the funding options available to them, including alternative finance.

In the wake of extended caution from traditional lenders, a position that the stalled Brexit process has helped to entrench, the likes of invoice finance, asset finance, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding are redrawing the small business funding landscape.

These facilities, which offer a more personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses grow. They are providing them with access to capital, on an affordable and flexible basis, to help manage cash flow and for critical investment.

This is how a Sussex small business used peer-to-peer lending, through a commercial finance broker that specialises in alternative finance, to raise the capital to invest in new equipment.

The next year is a crucial one for small businesses and the spring Budget 2020 is a chance for the government to turn renewed confidence into real growth. The proof will be in the pudding. Regardless of what happens, business owners need to have a strong financial plan in place and alternative finance should be part of the planning conversation.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact Steve Bowles on 01903 602211 or steve.bowles@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

Return to the News Page