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More budget changes … but fundamental around needs for enterprise and employability don’t change

Wed Mar 13 2024
Alex Till, Chief Executive Director MENTA, welcomes Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget boosts for SMEs as a first step to boost growth, but warns the measures do not go far enough to meet businesses’ urgent needs.

“Start-Ups, micro and small businesses are critical to the UK’s economic growth, and it was good to hear the Chancellor recognise that in his budget,” said Alex. 

“But these measures go nowhere near far enough to support the business growth we need." 

Thursday’s budget announcements included plans to support small firms by increasing the VAT registration threshold to “cut their taxes and help them grow”. Jeremy Hunt also unveiled proposals to extend full expensing to assets for leasing – a corporation tax relief focused on companies investing in plant and machinery. The Recovery Loan scheme was also extended until the end of March 26 with a new name – the Growth Guarantee Scheme. 

But the measures are far from meeting the Treasury’s pre-budget billing pledge of 2024 as ‘the Year of the SME’. 

“A recent survey by the National Enterprise Network showed that many of those running businesses are facing serious challenges through labour shortages and increased costs - 99% of start-ups and small businesses surveyed said they required support NOW,” said Alex. 

“These measures announced in the budget do not begin to resolve any of the additional challenges around business support packages caused by recent national govt changes to funding and which are likely to be further impacted by devolution. 

“If we are to harness the potential of the SME economy to pull us out of recession, then SME enterprise support cannot continue to be overlooked. More long-term and sustainable measures need to be put in place to ensure the continued prosperity and growth of the UK economy. 

“We need a cohesive national programme that creates economic growth through long term embedded community cohesion, local knowledge and partnerships. 

“It is to be hoped that as the country’s fiscal situation improves, there will be more measures announced to ease the tough decisions our businessmen and woman are having to make every day to keep their businesses going.” 

CALLING ALL BUSINESSES: What impact will devolution have on business in Suffolk? Find out at an open online event on 14 March where you can hear directly from Matthew Hicks, Leader, Suffolk County Council, and have your say on the plans for our county. MENTA has worked with the county council to create an opportunity for members to attend a virtual pre-consultation engagement event. Businesses wanting to take part can sign up here.
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