IWORK’s founder Julia Kermode was delighted to be a panellist at a media roundtable discussing hopes for the Autumn Budget, the economy and the current landscape facing small businesses. Latest research by FreeAgent, the cloud accounting software company, reveals that almost a quarter (23%) of SMEs believe the UK economy has been damaged irreversibly by Brexit and/or Covid-19 – with an astonishing 64% of business owners stating they are worried their businesses won’t survive the next 12 months.
Roan Lavery, CEO of FreeAgent said: “Our research paints a bleak picture for the UK economy from the perspective of both accountants and SME owners. I can’t stress enough the importance of the government of the day creating a resilient environment where small businesses can not only survive but also grow. The fact that the majority of those we asked feel their business will fail in a year’s time should be the wake up call our policy makers need to hear. They must act now, before it’s too late.”
The panel discussion covered many topics of the day, including self-employed peoples’ specific concerns:
- the disastrous impact that the widely predicted increase NMW would have on many small businesses, especially where the self-employed owner is not taking a wage themselves;
- the need for the trading allowance to be increased from the current level of £1000, which is a pitifully low amount that can be earnt without incurring tax;
- the cashflow implications of late (or even on-time) payments meaning that some self-employed businesses are turning down work opportunities.
Julia Kermode said: “We are about to enter one of the most challenging economic environments in recent times and small businesses, sole traders and freelancers are more exposed than ever. People are increasingly turning to alternative means to supplement their income and make ends meet. Protecting these workers is vital to safeguarding the wider UK economy and it’s critical that action is taken before additional macro economics pressures drive these groups further into the red. Small businesses and independent workers hold the key to the economic recovery – failure to support these dynamic, entrepreneurial individuals will only deepen the crisis.”