Survive and Succeed Campaign gains momentum

The founder of a national campaign, which has the support of over 32,000 business leaders, aimed overturning the tax on directors’ dividend payments says she is saddened and disappointed that the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, Anna Soubry MP, has shunned an invitation to come and put forward the government’s case for small business success.

Survive & Succeed - the Campaign for Successful SMEs was set up by Serena Humphrey, owner of Nottingham-based financial training company The F Word Ltd and launched on 10th September at Hart’s in Nottingham. Since then, word has spread throughout the UK, with over 32,000 signatories on a petition.

Serena had invited MP Anna Soubry to speak at the campaign’s next event on 26th November in Nottingham, but has received a letter from the MP rejecting the chance to explain the government’s decision to tax directors’ dividends - which the campaign wants to overturn.

Serena says: “We all really want to work with the government to ensure that we can ensure that the business failure rate drops. The instant popularity of the campaign has shown that there is massive interest in scrapping the tax on dividends and helping SMEs have a better chance of surviving.

“It is therefore surprising, given its insistence that SMEs are part of their 5-year plan, that the person heading up this plan - a local Nottinghamshire MP - can’t find time to come and speak to worried business owners.”

In a letter to Campaign HQ, MP Anna Soubry said: “The government has already responded to your campaign by setting out the rationale for the tax changes. I do not have anything to add to that response, tax policy being a matter for HM Treasure.

“I appreciate your offer of a meeting. Unfortunately, I am unable to accept your invitation - as you will appreciate my diary is already heavily committed.”

Chancellor George Osborne stunned the owner-manager community when he slapped an additional 7.5 per cent tax on their earnings in his post-election Summer Budget.

SME finance expert Serena, who launched the campaign highlighting the change which went almost unnoticed in the Budget, said: “Owner managers are a breed who work very hard and don’t make fortunes at the best of times.

“They are naturally careful with their money and faced with a drop in income they will almost certainly do one thing: cut their spending.

“There are millions of them so the impact of that is going to be widely felt. It also raises yet more questions about the wisdom of introducing this measure in the first place.”

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 SMEs 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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