Small Firms Relieved To See Modest GDP Uptick
Responding to Office for National Statistics figures showing that GDP rose by 0.2% in August 2023 compared with the previous month, Tina McKenzie, Policy Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “This modest rise in August’s GDP is a relief, coming on the heels of the sharp drop recorded in July."
“The recovery in services has driven the increase, but this masks concerning falls in production and construction, indicating that there are downward pressures on many sectors."
“Today’s figures will go some way to allaying fears that the summer was a wash-out for small firms, although our research has consistently found that confidence levels in some sectors – especially consumer-facing ones such as retail and hospitality – have trailed behind the overall results for all sectors."
“The early September pause in the upward march of the base rate has given small firms a ray of hope that the margin squeeze they’re enduring may ease."
“As we’ve seen in recent months, growth is volatile and fears of a recession have yet to be fully banished. If this most recent monthly rise is to be sustained, the Government will need to consider how it can promote a trading environment where small firms can flourish."
“It’s imperative for the Government to extend the 75% business rates discount for retail, hospitality and leisure firms beyond its current expiry date of April next year. It’s been a lifeline for thousands of small businesses and its continuation would limit the need for jarring price rises next April in consumer-facing sectors. Extending the VAT threshold to £100,000 would be another smart move to support economic growth."
“The blueprint for a thriving economy hinges on supporting small housebuilders. Small construction enterprises deserve a seat at the Government planning table, and by introducing brownfield development incentives and allowing the Community Infrastructure Levy to be paid at a project's end rather than the beginning, we can lay the groundwork for strong GDP and economic recovery."
“The millions of small business owners and self-employed people make up a powerful voting bloc, and they will be looking to the Autumn Statement for policies which will help them achieve their ambitions, and which will help the economy overall.”