In September 2023, key issues raised by Buckinghamshire businesses included:
Planning: Delays in the planning system continue to cause difficulties for businesses, hampering investment and growth. The length of time it can take to be connected to the power network has also been cited as a barrier to development.
Visitor economy: Summer trade was disappointing, particularly in July and August. Footfall and spend were both down on previous years. This is believed to be linked to rises in the cost of living reducing discretionary spend, and hikes in admission charges / services due to high inflation.
HMRC / VAT: Delays in the length of time it is taking to become VAT registered (around 6 months) is causing problems. In addition, a growing number of businesses are calling for the VAT threshold to be raised.
Rate revaluations: Recent revaluations are making the threshold of £12,500 for Small Business Rates Relief less meaningful.
R&D tax credits: Most businesses are now needing to pay professional advisors to help them complete the required paperwork.
The above issues were highlighted to BBF by local businesses. BBF use this 'on-the-ground' intelligence to inform local business support activity, and share it with central government on a monthly basis to inform national strategy.