Response to the Chancellor’s statement

Responding to the statement issued by the Chancellor, Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

“We have had a series of meetings in the last few days with Ministers and officials to argue for further support. Decisions will need to be made shortly, to protect businesses and the economy.

“We stressed to the Government this afternoon that help is needed now for the small firms that make up 99% of our business community and which are facing the disruption of a tidal wave of Omicron right during the crucial festive trading season.

“Business rates relief for the hardest-hit should be extended to 100%, and the £1.5bn business rates hardship fund promised in March for the supply chain must be accelerated. At a time when Government communications have reduced demand, it should be reducing the fixed tax burden.

“Additionally, we’re urging policymakers to relaunch the COVID Statutory Sick Pay rebate for small employers. As many as 1 million people could be unwell or self-isolating by the new year, so we need help to make sure everyone takes the right action to protect public health.

“FSB made a clear case to Government at the Budget that VAT should be kept at 5%. If hospitality is facing a much longer and harder road to recovery, that case should be examined afresh.”