SMEs have been left disappointed over the 2010 Budget, according to a straw poll by the Forum of Private Business (FPB).
The organisation surveyed its members and found that 87 per cent of respondents said the chancellor Alistair Darling’s measures will not increase business and consumer confidence. Just five per cent believed Darling’s proposals will create an environment for their businesses to develop.
More than two thirds (70 per cent) of respondents said they expected a more realistic Budget to be delivered after the general election.
When asked how they rated the Budget, just 10 per cent of FPB members rated the Budget as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, with 52 per cent branding it as ‘average’, and 38 per cent describing it as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.
A further 45 per cent believed that the Budget had a negative impact on employment, after the planned hike in National Insurance rates.
On a more positive note, just under nine per cent felt the Budget was designed to encourage short-term recovery, with 19 per cent saying it would have a positive impact on both cashflow support and business investment.
Phil Orford, chief executive of the FPB, said: “This research appears to support our initial assessment of the Budget – overall it fell far short of what we were hoping for and there was a sense that it was very much a Budget for the election.
“Judging from the feedback our members have given us, smaller firms don’t feel that the Chancellor has laid the foundations for a better environment in which to do business. At the same time, they are not taking the Budget too seriously because of the imminent election."
However, Orford said some measures would help SMEs, including the creation of a credit adjudicator for small firms, the extension to HMRC’s Time to Pay scheme and new targets aimed at helping small businesses get more public sector contracts.
“As long as they are administered properly, these schemes should provide tangible, on-the-ground support to smaller firms and the forum’s members appear to appreciate that.”
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