Small businesses: A cautious welcome, but measures 'a bit of a joke'

Autumn Statement

Britain’s small businesses gave a muted reaction to the Chancellor’s measures aimed at boosting investment – with one warning: “Government efforts are seen as a bit of a joke”.

George Osborne’s main gift to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was a 10-fold increase in allowances on capital spending such as tools, office equipment and commercial vans to £250,000. The annual investment allowance was slashed by the Coalition to £25,000 in April this year. Mr Osborne has performed a U-turn on that decision, meaning firms will now be able to claim 100 per cent tax relief on capital investments.

But Saurav Chopra, the chief executive of Huddlebuy, which works with 100,000 small businesses, said: “The previous allowance was preventing small businesses from investing for growth. However, Mr Osborne needs to do a lot more for small businesses across the UK to flourish. Government efforts are seen as a bit of a joke.”

The Chancellor also announced the creation of a £1bn Business Bank. But Xenios Thrasyvoulou, an entrepreneur who founded the freelancer marketplace PeoplePerHour, said: “The worry is that this £1bn fund will be out of reach for many businesses desperately in need of capital and support. The Chancellor skimmed over how firms will be able access these funds, how long the application process will take and, crucially, who will be eligible. The problem for small businesses has not been that lenders don’t have cash to lend; it’s that there are far too many hoops to jump through and red tape to cut to even get to the front of the line.”

Case study: Big business benefits, but it’s one rule for me and another for them

Ed Hoad, 29, operates a small recruitment business called Catalyst Executive Search. He and his wife Heidi, a teacher, have a seven-month-old son, Rufus.

I set up a business in 2010. With the economic turbulence, it’s been quite stressful actually watching my wife’s maternity pay dwindle and not really knowing what the economy is going to do.”

My wife and I have said we’re not going to spend that much on Christmas presents this year and it’s not because we don’t have any money, but I think you just need to be careful at the moment.

Having your own business, you almost live year to year, good years are great and you try and keep some money back but I think the cumulative effect of the recession makes it very hard  to actually keep a buffer in for  next year.”

I’m so angry they can get away with it. I just don’t understand how that can be so. I feel it is one rule for me and another for them. The thing that really frustrates me from the Autumn Statement is the fact that they dropped corporation tax to big businesses to 21% but mine isn’t going to change. Mine’s not going to go down to 19%.”

Case study: These are small measures that won’t make a massive difference for my business

Paul Blazdell, 39, is the sales director of Floppets, a Brighton based start-up which makes small collectible toys which can be clipped on to children’s bikes, shoes and bags.

The Autumn Statement was pretty much what we expected: continuing austerity and not a lot to stimulate growth in small and medium-sized businesses. One of the biggest problems is that banks still refuse to lend, while for us there is the issue of retailers being cautious about new products. We didn’t approach the banks for this venture as we knew it wouldn’t even be worth trying. Thankfully, these days you can sell your products on a website and promote through social media in a way that you couldn’t five years ago.

“The axing of the fuel duty rise is a good move, though you never know whether firms will pass that saving on to their customers. The increase in personal tax allowance is also welcome. If our business grows, the reduction in corporation tax could be helpful but it will have a minimal effect in the short term.

“But all of these are small measures, and I don’t see anything that’s going to make a massive difference for us, as we’re a business of just two people.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker