The 2020 Budget – What are the takeaways for small businesses?

Small businesses are going to be front line for the economic shock brought by Coronavirus; whether it is a reduction in demand, supply-chain struggles or challenges with last minute staffing shortages and paying sick leave. Employing over 16m people, small businesses are the at the heart of the UK economy, so it is quite right that the Budget has included a huge focus on them. The measures announced in the Chancellor’s ‘Corona’ budget include an unprecedented package of short-term measures to support small businesses during 2020. From a sick-pay rebate, to the discount on business rates, to access to cheap loans; each of these measures might not necessarily shift the dial for small businesses by themselves, but in bringing them together the Chancellor has thrown the kitchen sink at the problem.

This is a very significant start which should give hope to small businesses facing this crisis. Small businesses will come through this, but times will undoubtedly be tough for the foreseeable future. The consequences of this will likely extend beyond the current situation as the impacts cascade around the global economy and has a knock-on effect on confidence.

The potential issue coming down the track is that this will affect wider sectors outside of retail, leisure and travel, and small businesses will be impacted by the knock-on effect to medium size businesses. The Infrastructure spending bonanza is clearly a deliberate attempt to plug the challenges that we will see in some sectors of the economy, through pushing demand in infrastructure and construction. Let’s hope this is enough. The Chancellor made clear he is prepared to revisit these actions and we can foresee that there may be further sectors of the economy that require further support.

Anne Kiem, Executive Director, Small Business Charter