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What do SMEs want from the 2021 Autumn Budget?

Against a backdrop of rising energy and fuel prices, the end of various business support initiatives and rising taxes, all eyes are on the 2021 Autumn Budget. So, what do small business want from the Chancellor as 2022 moves into view?

What small businesses do not want is more pressure on cashflow and capital reserves. The autumn is already proving a challenging one for these firms, with petrol and gas bills on the rise and the announcement of a National Insurance hike from April 2022. The minimum wage is also set to rise.

At the same time, the government has announced a delay to its business rates reform, so whether the Autumn Budgets delivers much in this area remains to be seen. The retail sector is particularly in need of support with regard to business rates, and in other areas, so it will be interesting to see if any more light is shed on talk of a new online sales tax.

SMEs need support but limited expectations for the Autumn Budget

Indeed, firms across the small business spectrum will be keen to see support measures from the Chancellor, in particular with the furlough now ended and the tax holidays for the hospitality sector due to finish. However, with much talk of putting public finances on a sustainable footing, major support packages seem unlikely to feature in the Budget.

That’s not to say that there won’t be support for small businesses. The hospitality sector could benefit from an extended VAT holiday and further beefing up of apprenticeship schemes is expected. There is also the possibility that venture capital tax relief will be enhanced to encourage investment.

Regardless of what the 2021 Autumn Budget holds for small businesses, the next 6-12 months is going to pose challenges and firms have to be ready to manage the impact on their cashflow.

Alternative finance can help.

SME 2022 planning and how alternative lenders can help

With regard to alternative finance, in the wake of prolonged caution from traditional lenders, which is an issue that has returned during the pandemic, services such as invoice finance, asset finance and peer-to-peer lending, are proving a vital source of capital for small businesses, both for maintaining cashflow and for essential investment.

These facilities, which offer a more easily accessible and personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses survive and target recovery and regrowth.

Furthermore, alternative lending is playing a prominent role in the government’s headline emergency support scheme, the Recovery Loan Scheme (open until the end of 2021). Invoice finance and asset finance between £1,000 and £10 million per business are available under the initiative. This profile is helping cement the reputation of alternative finance in the business sector.

Supporting growth in 2022 and SME finance options

The immediate outlook for small businesses is a challenging one and few firms are expecting much from a belt-tightening Autumn Budget. However the land lies following the Chancellor’s statement, it is important that business owners are aware of all the finance options available to them, including the services of alternative lenders.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact Tony Hedger on 01903 602211 or tony.hedger@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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