THE requirement for brokers to thoroughly check SME businesses before submitting propositions was highlighted by insurance firm Simply Business.

It said that analysis of government figures over the last five years showed the annual rate of small businesses not making the cut was 10.8%.

With nearly 6m SMEs currently active, the failure rate points to 632,889 SMEs at risk of collapse in 2020, a rate of more than 1,700 every day.

Simply Business CEO, Alan Thomas, says that the new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, should use his first Budget to create more favourable conditions for SMEs in 2020.

Rise in fuel cost reckons MHA MacIntyre Hudson

However, the cost of business motoring is likely to rise for these SMEs as the price of fuel is forecast to go up.

Nigel Morris, tax director at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, believes the Chancellor will deliver a mixture of tax rises with targeted reliefs. And fuel duty was in his crosshairs.

Morris said such actions were part of the government’s environmental push to encourage low emission and electric vehicles. He added:

“Unfreezing fuel duty will be unpopular but it is probably the best way to pave the way to a zero carbon future for the motor sector. An increase in fuel duty of 2p per litre could raise £4bn over the next five years, whereas a continued freeze on fuel duty could ‘cost’ the Treasury £1bn per annum.

“This could pay for the infrastructure to support a large increase in new Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). However, a tax hike alone is not enough; it needs to be supported by targeted tax incentives.

“Two key tax incentives that could facilitate this are firstly the Plug-in Car Grant (PICG), which should be maintained until 2025, at least in some form. Secondly, the sector needs certainty on the future of Benefit in Kind (BIK) rates. The change in the BIK rates coming in this April make it significantly cheaper to run an ultra-low emissions vehicle, but the more certainty there is that these will be maintained the better.”

He said that such actions would keep the list price of ULEVs lower and with a continued low BIK incentive would encourage the earlier adoption of greener cars, particularly in fleets.

Morris added that supporting BEV infrastructure and greater interconnectivity were also essential.

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