Small businesses are at the brink due to April demands, warns this Lancashire business group

The Lancashire-based Federation of Small Businesses is warning that the futures of thousands of small businesses and sole traders are at risk as a raft of new requirements and cost pressures hit.

By Tim Gavell
Monday, 4th April 2022, 4:55 am

Its warning follows ONS figures showing that Covid rates are soaring, and almost one in seven businesses are not currently fully trading. FSB Research shows that 5 per cent of businesses, 250,000 firms, fear imminent collapse.

Protection from eviction for commercial tenants came to an end last week, the day after an SSP rebate scheme for small businesses closed a week ago today.

Other changes include:

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Martin McTague FSB national chairman

The requirement to pay back all VAT deferred in the period to June 2020 under Covid reliefs (March 31)

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An end to the 12.5 per cent VAT rate for the hospitality sector; having to make all VAT returns MTD compliant; upping the National Living Wage rate to £9.50; cutting the 66 per cent business rates discount for high street businesses and first payment of new rates bills (April 1)

An increase in the weekly SSP rate to £99.35 (April 3)

A 1.25 per cent increase in NICs rates for employers, employees and sole traders, plus dividend taxation (April 6)

FSB national chair Martin McTague said: “There’s no use hiding from the facts: this April flashpoint will push some firms to the brink.

"Spiralling energy costs are causing huge anxiety – small firms trying to navigate the market remain sandwiched between domestic consumers, who are protected by a price cap, and big corporates, who have leverage to secure best deals.

“With so many business owners and employees now forced to isolate as Covid infection rates soar, we and the TUC are urging the Government to launch a permanent a sick pay rebate.”