Small businesses in the UK are urging the next government to overhaul policies relating to tax, business rates and international trading. 


Source: Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

According to a forum set up by Bionic, a comparison service for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), over 150 SME owners contributed their opinions on which policies they want to see introduced or changed.

A common theme in the responses was that the current tax system is “overly complicated” and not “designed to promote SME growth”.

To combat this, SMEs want to see more being done about large corporations taking advantage of tax loopholes, corporation tax being lowered to 10%, and increasing or abolishing the VAT threshold altogether to promote growth.

One business owner on the forum said it’s “hard to compete against big companies” and there is “no incentive to grow as it’s a lot of stress for little to no gain”.

The forum also called on the government to continue business rates relief or abolish them. One owner said rates “should be zero” for any small independent high street businesses.

International outlook

An opinion shared by the forum was that SMEs want the government to add policies that promote international trading, as many small businesses found high supplier costs, increased delivery times, inefficiency of European supply timelines and visa restrictions hindering employment are affecting their business.

Bionic said that in the forum, several SME owners expressed that they would like to rejoin the EU to improve international trading.

Bionic business comparison expert Les Roberts said: “Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the UK economy, accounting for nearly two-thirds of total employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector.

“But the last few years have been tough, as we’ve lurched from one crisis to the next – Brexit, Covid, high energy prices, soaring inflation – all have taken their toll on Britain’s business population and the economy.

“If politicians really are serious about growing the economy, then improving conditions for these businesses should be at front of mind when policy decisions are made. 

“Giving those businesses the means to thrive and making sure people have enough money to spend on the products and services they provide would be a shot in the arm for the UK’s stagnant economy.”