NO PAIN BUT FEW PLEASURES FOR SMALL FIRMS IN PRE-BUDGET REPORT SAYS FPB
December 9 2009.

The Forum of Private Business has reacted to today's Pre-Budget Report.

The FPB has welcomed some of the small business-friendly measures outlined by the Chancellor, including the extension to the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, the freeze on corporation tax for small firms and the extension of the Time to Pay scheme.

However, the FPB is arguing that the support package announced by Mr Darling will have a limited impact - and more could have been done for small firms.

FPB chief executive Phil Orford said: "This year's PBR wasn't a terrible one for small businesses but it was fairly uninspiring.

"I think small businesses will find the Chancellor's speech a little lacklustre - it was essentially a list of recycled schemes. There were no new ideas in there of how to help small businesses, just extensions to the existing ones.

"Of course, we're glad that corporation tax for small firms wasn't increased, and extensions to the EFG scheme, the Time to Pay scheme and empty property rates relief can only be a good thing for our members.

"However, these are limited measures which will help a relatively tiny amount of firms - only 6,000 small businesses have been given EFG loans, for example.

"These benefits must also be offset against the hugely disappointing rise in National Insurance contributions, which is effectively a tax on employment."

Mr Orford added: "Our members were hoping this PBR would lay the foundations of a bold new tax and regulatory environment which would help small businesses prosper and grow.

"Sadly, we don't seem to have seen that - it's a case of business as usual and it's not enough."