Before next week’s emergency budget, UK firms are firmly in opposition to the planned hike in national insurance (NI).
In a YouGov poll, conducted on behalf of the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA), when asked what one thing they would like to see from the new coalition government, 39% of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who are clients of ABFA members, wanted to see the rise in NI scrapped.
A further 21% of these SMEs were desperate for tax payments to continue to be delayed through extending the government’s business payment support service, while 18% were looking for more fiscal support through lower business rates.
The poll surveyed 646 SMEs that are using invoice finance for their corporate funding and it found that these SMEs were stark in their criticism of the Labour government, with 74% of firms believing that it had not done enough to help businesses during the credit crunch. Only 14% of firms thought that Labour had done as much as they could to help.
Access to finance is still a critical lifeline for most firms, with 67% of SMEs responding that their funding environment is either very hard or relatively hard, with just 2% currently seeing access to finance as being very easy.
Kate Sharp, chief executive officer (CEO) of ABFA, said: “It’s clear from this research that UK SMEs are as against this increase in national insurance as large companies. Access to finance is still a major issue for SMEs and, while our members are actively lending, it will be critical that the emergency budget looks to help them more, by extending government initiatives such as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme. And given that 67% of SMEs in this research feel that not enough local support has been forthcoming, scrapping regional development agencies might not prove popular with many small firms too. It would seem that there is still someway to go before restoring business confidence.”
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