Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement next month, national business group the Forum of Private Business has written to George Osbourne with a wish list of top business wants to help capitalise on recent signs of recovery and get Britain trading back at pre-2008 levels.
Headlining its recommendations the Forum is calling on the Chancellor to make significant steps to help businesses tackle key issues affecting cash flow for small firms, in particular concrete action to tackle late payment.
The group is calling for a strengthening of the rules around the enforcement of the Prompt Payment Code to prohibit companies that have extended their payment terms within the previous 12 months from joining, and making it compulsory for them to produce an annual declaration of payment time statistics.
The Forum is also calling on the Chancellor to look at ways to make it easier for small businesses to access to alternative forms of finance, in particular peer-to-peer lending, by reviewing how current restrictions are making it difficult for small firms to obtain new finance to fund growth.
In addition, the Forum is keen to see continued support in reducing businesses costs, including a freeze on business rates until 2014.
With over 97% of its members believing that property taxation is too high, the Forum is asking for an extension of Small Business Rate Relief until the end of the current parliament and an independent study to look at the current system of business rates.
The Forum is also calling for continued commitment maintaining a freeze on fuel duty until 2015.
Commenting on its submission, Alexander Jackman, Head of Policy at the Forum of Private Business, said: “The Chancellor will be delighted to see quarter on quarter economic growth in the country. With the forthcoming Employment Allowance to support businesses next year and the recent pledge to freeze fuel duty if savings can be found across government, it’s clear he has his finger on the pulse of UK businesses. His task now is to try and cement the growth in the UK.
“An overwhelming number of businesses feel property taxation remains too high. At present business rates are linked to inflation and with previous years of quite high inflation those rates have soared. Now is the time for the Treasury to recognise that pressing issue and give businesses a break from over inflationary increases in their rates.