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What do small firms want from Spring Budget 2023?

Despite the fact that government financial statements come along quite often these days, the Spring Budget is an important date for the under-pressure small business sector. What do firms want the Chancellor to deliver?

Help with energy costs and business rates remain top priorities

Managing energy costs is very much a headline line issue for small businesses, but it seems unlikely that the government will change its stance, with the reduction in support for energy bills to go ahead. That said, targeted extra help could be forthcoming, for example for physical activity businesses.

Business rates is another small business sector hot potato and the Federation of Small Businesses has indicated that it would like to see the relief threshold raised to £25,000. As for fuel duty, an extension of the 5p cut would be welcomed and many believe that this will happen.

Help needed to spark net-zero investment and with childcare

Circling back to energy prices and the role of small businesses in helping to achieve net-zero targets, greater stimulus to increase investment in carbon-friendly development, such as improved insulation and solar panels, would be welcome. Small firms are increasingly aware of the need to take action to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon economy, but the cost of change remains a major barrier.

Support with childcare costs is a key topic, with calls for the government to do more to help in the wake of rising costs and the cost-of-living crisis. The large-scale expansion of free childcare is being asked for in some quarters. Although it may prove over-optimistic to expect such a move, more modest help may be forthcoming.

Managing costs in 2023 and how alternative finance can help

It remains to be seen what the Chancellor provides for small businesses in the Spring Budget, but the need for help with safeguarding cashflow and encouraging investment is clear as the sector battles unprecedented headwinds.

So, how can small firms ensure that they have the finances and planning in place to survive and to target growth in 2023? This is where alternative finance can help.

In the wake of prolonged caution from traditional lenders, which is an issue that has returned during the pandemic and amid challenging post-COVID-19 market conditions, services such as invoice finance, asset finance and peer-to-peer lending are proving a vital source of capital for small businesses.

These facilities, which offer a more easily accessible and personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses survive and target recovery, stability and growth. Notably, alternative lending played a prominent role in the government’s headline emergency support schemes in 2022, including the Recovery Loan Scheme.

This profile has helped cement the reputation of alternative finance in the business sector, with a recent study showing that more than 50% of small businesses are looking to use finance to achieve growth in 2023.

Surviving the year ahead and small firm finance options

While the government may relax its stance on some positions, its main policies are unlikely to see much change in the Spring Budget. Therefore, it is important that small businesses are well positioned to manage the year ahead regardless of the support they do or do not receive. As part of this planning, it is vital that these firms 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 Steve Bowles on 01903 602211 or steve.bowles@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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