SMEs will feel the greatest impact following today’s Autumn Statement

17th November 2022

SMEs will feel the greatest impact Following today's Autumn Statement"

“Hiking tax bills on top of the existing pressure of inflation and rising energy costs feels like a triple whammy. SMEs will feel the impact from these increases the most.”

Following today’s Autumn Statement, our CEO Roy Shelton, says:

“Jeremy Hunt had an almost impossible task today. But the tax changes he’s announced will badly impact many small, and medium size businesses. From office rent to higher than expected salary increases, small businesses now face rising costs across the board. Hiking tax bills on top of the existing pressure of inflation and rising energy costs feels like a triple whammy.

SMEs will feel the impact of these increases the most. I was disappointed the Chancellor didn’t seek to offer more reward today to businesses seeking to grow. Many companies are using technology and automation to reduce costs, freeing people to work in a more efficient way. The UK has now firmly cemented its place as a magnet for dynamic start-ups. Many used the pandemic to pivot, adapt and come back stronger. But for this to continue, the government must support small and medium-sized enterprises more. We can’t do it all on our own, and today we saw too much stick and not enough carrot from the Chancellor.”

On some of the specific measures announced, Mr Shelton continued: “The National Living Wage rise by 9.7% from April to an hourly rate of £10.42 should be welcomed. We have always paid all of our staff well above the national living wage, and I’d urge other employers to do so if they can. I was surprised that from April 2025, electric vehicles will no longer be exempt from vehicle excise duty. Why would you do this when the government is driving ahead with net zero commitments. This feels counter intuitive.

The plan to help make Britain the “new Silicon Valley” will apparently see public funding for research and development increase to £20bn by 2024. But I want to know more about how this funding will be accessed? We’ve seen many public sector funding projects announced in the past which have just become so long-winded and difficult to successfully navigate, that it kills off the opportunities.

I’d also like to have seen more focus on building greater transport links between north and south. We’ve heard promise after promise from the Government that they will “deliver the core Northern Powerhouse Rail.” Let’s see links between the northwest and London become more frequent and actually more reliable. The proposed gigabit broadband rollout is important because the UK still lags too far behind many other developed economies in terms of broadband speeds and adoption. However, yet again, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, remains difficult to work with due to their overly complicated processes. It means providers are often simply walking away from the available funding available. This risks leaving a good policy ending up becoming unworkable.”