A missed opportunity for small businesses

The Chancellor has missed what may well have been his final opportunity to properly support the UK’s small businesses. he Chancellor has missed what may well have been his final opportunity to properly support the UK’s small businesses.

Last week’s Budget announcement was a further disappointment for the country’s entrepreneurs, who have spent this Parliament waiting for the coalition to deliver on its promise to get behind small firms.

The government has broken that promise at almost every stage. Although schemes such as this year’s Growth Vouchers are welcome, the coalition has done nothing to correct the imbalance in the British economy that sees small businesses suffer while multinationals have the freedom to build tax efficient schemes that pay little heed to the countries in which they operate, and that sees the micro-businesses that form the backbone of the economy buried under unfair tax rules.

The Chancellor could have taken a historic chance on Wednesday to tighten rules on big companies’ tax, and could have signalled his willingness to support the country’s vital micro-businesses with serious concessions. While we welcome improvements to Export Finance, along with the extension of grants for apprenticeships and growth in the annual investment allowance, measures of this sort are simply not enough. This Budget called for a wholesale change in government policy in favour of small businesses, and George Osborne failed to deliver.

The Conservatives ran in the last election on the basis that they would be the steady hand that small businesses need, but the coalition they head has consistently failed to live up to that promise. Small firms can guide the UK back towards sustainable growth. It’s time for fresh thinking from all parties to ensure that Westminster helps us achieve that.