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Business support a priority for political parties

Shropshire accountants are calling on all political parties to prioritise support for small and medium sized businesses in the run-up to the election.

The team from Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants, in Shrewsbury, have joined other members of The Corporate Finance Network to urge candidates to think carefully about the impact their manifesto could have.

Director Mark Bramall (pictured) said it was vital that the main political parties focused on helping owner-managed businesses to continue to support the growth of the economy.

“They must put an end to some worrying developments in the current environment for SMEs, particularly the uncertainty over Brexit, as well as other issues that will damage the long-term future of entrepreneurs if they are ignored,” he said.

Mr Bramall said SMEs provided almost half the UK population’s employment and half of the country’s economic turnover.

“But their owners are growing older, and there is little incentive to encourage the next generation to take over. Most owner managers are nervous of buying another company, and so tax advantages to encourage them to consider this move would be very welcome.

“Otherwise we will see an increasing number of businesses wind up over the next five years, with inevitable redundancies, because there aren’t enough purchasers willing to take over the business. Funding to support management buyouts would also be a good idea – it’s already available in Wales, so it could be rolled out across the UK.”

Mr Bramall said changes to the leadership of the Financial Conduct Authority would help, particularly when it came to crowdfunding.

“There is a drastic need to speed up the authorisation of existing crowdfunding platforms, and the rollout of the Innovative Finance ISA products announced by the Government last year.”

He also said banks were now required to refer any SMEs they had declined for funding to one of three online finance brokerages, where businesses can pitch their needs directly to alternative lenders.

“But while this may appear to be good news, there is a real lack of any advice during the process, and the main political parties should consider reviewing the entire process to ensure entrepreneurs are getting advice that meets their individual circumstances.

“Political representatives must prioritise the support offered to SMEs to allow them to grow, but at the same time create an environment that includes sensible advice and the opportunity to explore all available options before making any big decisions.”

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