The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on Philip Hammond to make good on his claim that "the Conservative Party is, and always will be, the party of business" in his Autumn Budget.
FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: "For small business owners, this Budget is the chancellor's make or break moment. Warm words from the Government are welcome, but they need to translate into action. With our small retailers trying to keep their heads above water - and the self-employed community left demoralised by the failure to end Class II NICs - this is the chancellor's opportunity to show he really does back business."
In its Budget submission, the FSB is calling on the Government to take some key steps to support small businesses:
- Halt the annual inflation-linked increase in business rates bills set to take effect from April 2019;
- Remove the anomaly which means small firms lose Small Business Rate Relief if they expand into a second location;
- Provide a £1,000 business rates discount for small shops, cafes and pubs to support high street businesses;
- Introduce an Adoption Allowance for the self-employed.
Other key proposals include reform of the Universal Credit system, with an extension to the Start-Up Period and reforms to the Minimum Income Floor for sole traders who claim Universal Credit.
At the same time, the FSB is warning the Government that is should not make any changes to the current Dividend Allowance, the VAT threshold and Insurance Premium Tax (IPT). It has also raised concerns about the potential extension of IR35 public sector rule changes to the private sphere.
In addition, the FSB is calling for the continuation of the New Enterprise Allowance and a widening of tax relief on training for sole traders. As things stand, the self-employed can only claim tax relief on training to increase existing skill sets, rather than develop new ones.
Mike Cherry added: "With small firms already reporting that the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) will increase compliance costs, FSB is calling on the chancellor to steer clear of any fresh tax grabs later this month.
"There are 5.7 million small firms in the UK," he added. "If the chancellor wants them to continue driving economic growth then we need to see an Autumn Budget that is unequivocally pro-business."