One in five not bothered about Budget

Published:  23 March, 2010

UK: A survey has found that few small businesses see Wednesday's Budget as an important issue. With a General Election just weeks away, business owners appear to be more concerned with day-to-day issues such as sales, turnover and cashflow.

Barely one-fifth of small business owners believe this week's Budget will have a significant impact on their firms, according to the research carried out by Forum of Private Business among its members.

Employment law, business rates and business confidence ranked highly as issues in need of urgent attention.

Sales and turnover emerged as the leading concern for small firms when planning for 2010, emerging as an issue for 77% of respondents. About 71% said they were planning for the year ahead by thinking about profitability and 69% by being concerned with cashflow.

Staffing was also high up the priority list, with employee levels being a concern for 60% of those surveyed.

Commenting on the results, the Forum's research manager, Thomas Parry, said: "There's a certain amount of cynicism about this year's Budget and this research reflects that.

"A lot of business owners are simply presuming that there's going to be another Budget straight after the election so they're not paying it too much attention.

"The things they are concerned with at the moment are the more pressing issues associated with running a business in a struggling economy.

When asked what state support schemes they wanted to see increased or retained in the near future, HMRC's Time to Pay tax deferral scheme emerged as the favourite, with an overwhelming 66% of respondents giving it their approval.

The second favourite was 10-day payment by government bodies, which 58% of respondents wanted to see either increased or retained.

"Most of the Government support schemes we listed drew a pretty apathetic response but Time to Pay proved hugely popular, as did 10-day payment by public bodies," Mr Parry said.

"This reinforces the theme of business owners knuckling down and concentrating on essential, day-to-day financial concerns in order to ensure their companies' survival."

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