December 21, 2010

SMEs need help to survive the cold snap says FSB

by Jan Harris

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) wants both the public and private sector to support SMEs over Christmas and New Year, when many are struggling to survive.

The severe weather has caused travel chaos, with consumers struggling to get to the High Street and workers staying at home in the face of hazardous driving conditions.

The disruption caused by the snow and freezing temperatures is believed to be costing the economy between £600 million and £1 billion every day.

In order to help small businesses survive this difficult period, the FSB wants HMRC to extend its Time to Pay scheme, so that small businesses can pay when cash-flow has improved.

It also wants landlords, especially local councils, to delay rent increases and is calling on councils to temporarily reduce business rate bills for businesses experiencing financial difficulty.

However, putting extra pressure on local councils does seem somewhat unrealistic given the unprecedented cuts in funding that local authorities are currently facing.

The FSB also wants banks, utilities and insurers to give small businesses extra time to pay their bills.

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