Support for small businesses and entrepreneurs

16 March 2016

The Chancellor announced his intention to put “rocket boosters on the back of enterprise”. It's fantastic to see support for small businesses and entrepreneurs. They account for a significant amount of employment and innovation in the UK and haven't received much attention in recent Budgets. The potential game changers are reforms to Business Rates, which can often be a very high fixed cost for an early stage business, and the extension of Entrepreneur's Relief to long term investors in unlisted businesses.

The latter should help to unlock further sources of funding alongside the existing Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes. The relief for Micro Entrepreneurs - those making small amount of trading, services or rental income, often facilitated by new digital platforms - is welcome recognition that the world of enterprise is changing.

Small businesses continually tell us that simplicity and clarity in the tax system would make a huge difference. The Business Tax Roadmap is a step in the right direction through dedicated HMRC phone lines, online forums and targeted support to high growth businesses. It will be even more interesting to see how the Government responds over the coming months to the report by the Office of Tax Simplification on small business taxation which contains some more radical ideas.

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