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Autumn Statement ‘must capitalise on growing optimism’

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged Chancellor George Osborne to build on growing economic optimism in his forthcoming Autumn Statement, by taking action on energy costs and business rates.

While welcoming the Government’s recent business measures, including the new Employment Allowance, the FSB has called for further action on business rates, which it says pose a ‘significant cost’ for small firms, some of which pay more in rates than in rent.

The business group also wants to see the introduction of reforms that would make it easier for small businesses to get a competitive energy deal, in the face of recent announcements of above inflation price increases by many of the leading energy companies.

John Allan, FSB National 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 the economy strengthens, we are only too conscious of the urgency to implement reforms in areas such as business rates, energy and banking’.

Meanwhile, the Forum of Private Business has highlighted the issues of cash flow and business costs in its submission to the Chancellor, calling for concrete action on late payment as well as steps to make it easier for small businesses to access alternative forms of finance.