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Britain’s SMEs ‘are prepared to pay more tax’

Many of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would be prepared to pay higher corporation tax, provided it is ringfenced for public services, a new survey has shown.

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The survey also revealed that half of SME business owners think their employees would pay more tax to fund better public services

Conducted on behalf of Close Brothers Asset Finance, the survey has revealed that 47 percent of the country’s SMEs would be prepared to pay more corporation tax, but only if those funds are used to better public services. This figure rises to 61 percent for firms with a turnover of between £5m and £10m.

Nearly 1000 SME owners across the UK and Ireland were asked their opinions on a range of issues affecting their businesses. The survey found that as a company’s turnover increases, so does the likelihood of the owner feeling their employees would pay more tax.

Opinion is split as to whether the tax they pay is well spent, with 39 percent agreeing with the statement and 39 percent disagreeing. Of all the industries polled, the construction, engineering and manufacturing sectors all trend at 44 percent agree that tax is fairly spent.

The survey found that as a company’s turnover increases, so does the likelihood of the owner feeling their employees would pay more tax

“To some extent, our data reflects the results from the British Attitudes survey, which found that at 60 percent, the proportion of people who believed the government should raise taxes to fund more public spending was at its highest in 15 years following years of austerity,” says Neil Davies, Chief Executive Officer at Close Brothers Asset Finance. “Understandably, firms at the smaller end of the scale, both in terms of turnover and employee numbers, are least in favour of extra taxes.”

Healthcare, emergency services and education topped the list of public services that business owners feel require the most funding. The least popular areas were public transport, waste management and water supply.

Would your SME be willing to pay more in tax for better public services? Email summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or follow us on Twitter to have your say.


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