Cost of living: Scottish Liberal Democrat's criticise 'lack of support' for small businesses in Rishi Sunak finance package

A leading Scottish MP said the lack of support for small businesses in the Chancellor’s finance package is “short-sighted” as they are the “backbone of the British economy”.

Friday, 27th May 2022, 5:24 pm

Liberal Democrat treasury spokesperson Christine Jardine made the observation after Rishi Sunak announced financial measures to tackle the cost of living.

The UK Government U-turned on its opposition to a windfall tax on oil and gas firms, announcing it would introduce a levy to help tackle rising bills.

Every household in the UK is to get an energy bill discount of £400 each, with the worst-off households receiving a £650 discount, the Chancellor announced.

Christine Jardine MP has said there is a lack of support for small businesses in the finance package announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak (Photo:Jon Waddell Photography).

However, Ms Jardine said small businesses had been left behind in these new measures.

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The MP for Edinburgh West said: "Rishi Sunak's support package did nothing for the thousands of UK small businesses desperately trying to survive.

"The hit they are facing as gas and electric bills skyrocket risks putting many of them out of business entirely. That's short-sighted because small businesses are the backbone of the British economy.

"Enormous energy companies have been told that they will get tax breaks if they invest in the UK, but there was nothing for small firms. No wonder almost three quarters of UK small business owners have used personal savings to stop their business from going under in the past month.

"Rishi Sunak needs to get back to the drawing board and set out what he will do to help small business through the energy price crunch. He could start by ending the national insurance increase."

Earlier this month, the Chancellor hailed small businesses as the “heart of our economy” as he set out how the Government was backing firms to train and invest, helping the economy to recover and grow, and support jobs.

The UK Government has claimed it has taken measures to support small businesses, including cutting employment taxes and introducing Help to Grow: Digital – a scheme that aims to help owners choose, buy and adopt digital technologies to help grow a business.

As of April, small retail, hospitality and leisure businesses could apply for 50 per cent off their business rates bills, which the Government hailed as the biggest single-year cut to business rates in 30 years.