Taxes the biggest threat to SMEs

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Tax increases are set to do more damage to business than the bad weather which forced one in four small firms to close for periods of up to a week.

That is the verdict of the Federation of Small Businesses, following a snap poll of 1,300 of its members.

Almost two out of five of small businesses said that the rise in fuel duty will have a significant impact on their business and almost three out of 10 said the same about the VAT increase, while one in four said the snow had had a similar impact.

FSB regional chairman and Sheffield businessman Gordon Millward said: “Heavy snowfall and severe weather has put a strain on already hard-hit small firms at such an important time for businesses.

“This coupled with the increase in VAT and the huge rise in fuel duty is really undermining the potential of small businesses, at a time when the Government is putting much of its hope into the sector to put the economy back onto firm ground. While the Government cannot control the weather, it can reduce the impact record fuel duty rates has on everyone, not just small businesses.

“It is unacceptable that the Government has u-turned on its manifesto promise to introduce a fuel duty stabiliser and it is vital we see this put in place immediately to remove some of the strain from small businesses.”