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EDITORIAL COMMENT

COMMENT SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL, AND THE GREAT BEAUTY OF THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMUNITY IN THE UK IS THAT IT IS – AS EVERYONE ACKNOWLEDGES – THE BACKBONE OF THE ECONOMY AND THE ENTREPRENEURIAL DRIVING FORCE BEHIND INNOVATION, GROWTH AND EMPLOYMENT. THE CHANCES ARE THIS MEANS YOU, BECAUSE IF YOU’RE READING GC MAGAZINE YOU’RE PROBABLY RUNNING A SMALL BUSINESS, EMPLOYED BY ONE OR HAVE STRONG BUSINESS LINKS WITH SMES.

T

he facts confirm the vital role of SMEs: they are responsible for 47% of total private sector turnover; they employ 60% of the total private sector workforce. So why is a vibrant economic asset that should be encouraged, courted and consulted, so often treated with a disappointing lack of understanding and support? Is it because politicians, always looking for sources of revenue but frightened by the power of the big businesses and financial institutions who are best able to afford it, turn to the easy, reliable, industrious SME sector to squeeze out a little more cash for the exchequer? It’s as if Governments – and we make no Party distinctions – say: “We need more money, but the richest businesses have better tax lawyers than us, so we’ll have to hit the easy option again. Small businesses will moan, but they’ll shoulder the extra burden. They always do.”

“The selfemployed shoulder the risk of going it alone, without the employee benefits of paid holidays, sick pay or statutory redundancy pay, and they take on the daily pressure and hard work of being ultimately responsible for the running of a business. ”

The Spring Budget revealed the attitude yet again. A drop in the tax-free dividend allowance from £5,000 to £2,000 may be a drop in the ocean to directors of big companies whose dividend take is substantial, but to a director of a small company trying to eke out salary and dividends to get a liveable reward for the risk, work and worry of running a business, it’s a substantial extra burden. The manifesto4

GET CONNECTED MARCH 2017

breaking rise of 2% in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed, although quickly abandoned by the Chancellor – at least for this Parliament – after pressure from SMEs (the Federation of Small Businesses is to be commended for its part in this) and from within his own party, is also an example of where the exchequer thinks its revenue can most easily be gathered. Mr Hammond’s argument that he was just correcting an unfairness that gave the self-employed an advantage over employees is nonsense. The self-employed shoulder the risk of going it alone, without the employee benefits of paid holidays, sick pay or statutory redundancy pay, and they take on the daily pressure and hard work of being ultimately responsible for the running of a business. Doesn’t all this merit a bit more consideration, especially since SMEs are also largely responsible for the general health of the economy? We say this with a strong sense of fellow feeling with our readers, since GC, like many of you, is a truly independent business. Like others still standing in this industry after a decade of profound change and upheaval, we understand from experience what it’s like to have survived by recognising early enough the need to adapt to that change, to have taken hard decisions, and to have forged a sustainable business model. Like you, we know that change and adaptation in a dynamic marketplace will have to go on, and that it will have to be accomplished without the luxury of being part of a bigger business that can subsidise us from sources outside our industry. There’s not a universal answer to the electrical retail crisis. But it is certain that, whatever path each individual business chooses, support from our trading partners should be given to those who already have a track record of successful adaptation.

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www.gcmagazine.co.uk

Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

Database independently audited by Firgrove Consultancy. Average net 10 issues: 5,927 Mar 2012 – Feb 2013

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