- One in five SMEs believe investment in skills will help with their growth agenda
- A third of SMEs want a reduction in National Insurance Contributions (NICs) to help their businesses grow
As the Chancellor prepares to deliver his Autumn Statement this week, the one measure that the UK’s SME population want to see is a commitment to more spending on road and rail infrastructure, according to a poll by KPMG.
The survey of 228 SME businesses found that around a third (31%) of businesses felt that increased spending in hard infrastructure would be the single one measure that they want to see the Chancellor announce when he stands up on Thursday to deliver his Autumn Statement.
When asked which measures would help with their growth agendas, 32% said a reduction in NICs, whilst 21% said announcements around increased investment in skills and training would help their businesses.
David Bywater, tax partner for KPMG’s national markets practice commented : “The SME community are really looking for a commitment from the Chancellor this week of investment in projects that will in the long term see the UK compete effectively on the world stage, and in the immediate term create new jobs in the construction sector and related supply chain.
“Given that many SME businesses pay more in NICs than Corporation Tax, anything that the Chancellor can do to reduce this burden to smaller businesses would be most welcomed. We have seen the employer’s NIC rate rise in a decade from 11.8% to 13.8%, and for most businesses it is their largest tax cost. A general rate reduction would probably be too costly for HM Treasury, but a reduction in the NIC rate for targeted groups, such as 16 – 21 year olds, would encourage businesses to employ more people in this age band, and in turn, help to get more youngsters in to work and reduce the burden on welfare spending.
“Businesses also have a major concern over the “skills gap” that is developing, particularly in engineering, and they want more of a say in how apprentices and students coming into the workforce are trained; any announcement around increased funding for apprenticeship programmes, and importantly, how that funding is structured would also be really valuable to our SME community.”
61% of businesses surveyed felt that the Government was now in a strong position to do more to help businesses in the Autumn Statement this year.
Other key areas that SMEs want the Chancellor to help them with this week were: less red tape (27%), tax cuts (20%) and measures to reduce energy prices (17%).
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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2012. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 156 countries and have 152,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.