Regional FSB chairman calls on government for action on energy prices and business rates

News Posted 20/11/13
FSB calling for clearer energy tariffs and measures to improve conditions for SMEs in the region

The regional chairman of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) has called on Chancellor George Osborne to address spiraling energy prices and business rates ahead of his Autumn Statement.

Roger House explained that despite there being a picture of general economic improvement, he believed urgent action was required to help ease the pressure felt by many smaller firms.

As he revealed, the FSB believed that an emphasis on pro-enterprise policies needed to be maintained in addition to supporting those who are long-term unemployed.

The organisation is also calling on the big six energy firms to publish fully transparent tariffs that clearly offer customers meaningful comparisons, in order that they are able to make informed decisions.

According to the trade body, more than a quarter of a million firms rely on 100 per cent rate relief to survive, but relief at this rate is due to expire next year. The impact of this, it explained, would be equivalent to introducing a new tax on 293,000 small and micro businesses just as the economy is starting to recover.

With rates bills set to increase by 3.2 per cent in 2014 – as set by September’s RPI inflation figure – FSB Kent wants to see the temporary doubling of small business rates relief made permanent, and a freeze in rates for firms in properties below £18,000.

Furthermore, the FSB has also put forward proposals to address the treatment of firms with multiple properties, which discourage business growth, and has called for urgent action to reform business rates appeals procedures.

Roger House, the Kent and Medway FSB chairman, said: “For the first time in many years we were able to write to the Chancellor with our proposals for the Autumn Statement against an encouraging economic background.

As Kent’s economy strengthens, we are only too conscious of the urgency to implement reforms in areas such as business rates, energy and banking. The Government must also continue to build on initiatives to get Kent’ young people into work. So while FSB have welcomed the government’s pro-enterprise measures and efforts to address barriers to small firms’ growth, longstanding issues remain in key areas of the economy.”

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