A Nottingham finance expert, who was dismayed with the way the Budget hampered SME growth potential, is set to launch a campaign that she hopes will helping small businesses survive and beat the shockingly low long term company survival rates in the UK.

Serena Humphrey of The F Word Ltd, the specialist financial management and training firm, is launching Survive and Succeed –The Campaign for Successful SMEs at a special event at Harts Restaurant, Nottingham on the morning of 10th September in front of an audience of local SME owners.

Serena says: "I was disappointed that the recent Budget did nothing to help SMEs – quite the opposite in fact. The 5 year business survival rate in the UK is only 41.3 per cent and just 36.1 per cent in Nottingham, one of the lowest in the UK.

"The Government should be helping business owners to create strong profitable companies by allowing them easily get to grips with key components of long term business success – profitability and cash.

"There are few perks to running your own business and we believe that the ability to take dividends as share of taxed profits, up to the higher earners threshold was one of the fundamental components of risk and reward for the hard working entrepreneur.
These business owners are the ones that drive growth, pay much needed taxes into the country's coffers, and create jobs to give an income to others."

Serena says that being able to take a dividend; some of the profit business owners have worked so hard to generate, was one of the small rewards and was a real motivator to drive the business forward. However, this does not mean SME owners are in business to take advantage of the tax regime, nor does it mean we don't want to pay our fair share of taxes.
She adds: "with other changes coming into effect, such as auto enrolment, a 10% increase in the Minimum Wage, the 3.5 per cent insurance premium tax increase, and the imminent interest rate rises, this dividend tax is an attack too far on small businesses. And we need to remember that those profits have already been taxed at 20%, so this 7.5% tax means we're paying 27.5% tax, well above the basic rate of 20%.

"Of course we're grateful for the corporation tax reduction, but that doesn't take place until a year after the dividend tax increase, and it's a relatively small benefit compared to these increases.

"We fear that this the thin edge of the taxation of entrepreneurs and marks a worrying change to the Government's approach to the wealth creating, job creating army of small business owners who account for 99% of all private sector business. Many experts believe that the next moves will be to further increase taxation on dividends, ultimately forcing us onto payroll where there are absolutely no benefits at all to the business owner. This means we'd be treated like normal employees, which we really aren't. We're the first ones to not get paid when cash is tight, first ones to forgo holidays, days off and time with the family, and the ones putting everything at risk."

Survive and Succeed – The Campaign for Successful SMEs has a five point agenda:
1)      Improve the long term survival rate of small businesses through financial education and improving financial skills – both of business owners and the finance staff.
2)      Open the debate on the proposed dividend tax rules for the smallest companies and lobby Government on the issue.
3)      A commitment to a stable tax regime that gives business owners real stability to plan for the next few years and to plan for growth, which will mean they can create extra jobs, and pay more tax through employment and corporation tax.
4)      For the Government to properly understand the real culture and sacrifice of being a small business owner and the contribution SMEs make to the UK economy.
5)      Address the issue of late payment by large companies to small companies, change the mind-set and approach to dealing with small companies, by really understanding what damage late payment does to their finances and chances of survival.

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