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Small biz quakes as Budget shadow looms

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Business expenses are already going up - even before expected tax rises in the emergency Budget come into effect.

The Forum of Private Business has joined the chorus of advice for George Osborne - but then he did ask the public to help him choose what to cut.

The group asked why, although there has been a suggestion of cuts to corporation tax, there has been no offer of cuts to the lower rate paid by most small firms.

An FPB survey held in May found 37 per cent of businesses said the costs of business, excluding tax, had gone up. Business confidence has been undermined by fears that tax changes will hit smaller firms hard.

It warned that public sector cutbacks - seen as inevitable given the scale of the UK's budget deficit - would have a knock-on effect for public sector contracts and business support measures.

Total employee numbers have fallen four per cent in the last year, although these were not all full-time positions. Many small companies told the FPB they were not taking on more staff until after the Budget.

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