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Spring Budget 2024 – Direct and Indirect Opportunities for SMEs.

March 12, 2024

Danielle Wallis
Marketing Manager

Now that we've had a chance to take a deeper dive into the details of the 2024 Spring Budget, we’d like to talk about some of the direct and indirect opportunities for the UK’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that the budget presents.

In terms of initiatives that will directly impact SMEs, it is evident that several of the policies announced in the budget aim to alleviate financial pressures and promote growth amidst major economic challenges. With measures such as the increase in the VAT registration threshold to £90,000, the extension of full expensing for businesses, plus 75% business rates relief for the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors for another year, there are attempts to improve SME resilience and operational sustainability. These initiatives should have a positive impact on cash flow and reduce administrative bulk for SMEs, enabling them to focus more intently on growth and development.

The current economic climate provides little headroom to keep pumping additional funds into public services. So, significant aspects of the Budget are committed to encouraging economic resilience and growth through strategic investments in technology and innovation, with the desired result of enhanced public sector efficiency. This focus on technological empowerment and digital transformation across sectors, including the NHS, public sector fraud management, and administrative efficiency, highlights the importance of leveraging technology to streamline operations and improve service delivery.

Therefore, for SMEs operating in and around the tech sector, the emphasis on digital innovation opens avenues for engagement in transformative projects. The government's investment in NHS technology, for example, indicates a clear need for innovative solutions that can improve patient care and operational efficiency. Similarly, initiatives to combat public sector fraud by using AI technologies signal an emergent demand for advanced analytical tools to enhance transparency and accountability in public expenditures.

Moreover, the Budget's focus on data utilisation, digital infrastructure enhancement, and the proliferation of preventative actions through technology highlights the potential for SMEs to contribute to and benefit from government plans to modernise public services. This could involve the development of AI-driven applications, digital platforms, and specialised technology applications that support early intervention and diagnosis in healthcare, among other areas.

The government's investment pledges for education and training, particularly in AI and digital skills, further indicate a commitment to building a workforce equipped to meet the demands of a technology-driven economy. SMEs can play a critical role in this area by providing innovative educational solutions and training services that support the upskilling of public sector workers as well as the broader workforce.

The Budget presents a clear strategy to stimulate SME growth and innovation through financial relief measures and targeted investments in technology and digital transformation. These efforts not only aim to reduce operational hurdles for SMEs but also to integrate them into the broader agenda of modernising public services and enhancing the UK's economic resilience.

The strategy is clearly contingent on innovation, competition and creativity within the private sector, with the Government keen to leverage private sector dynamism to support productivity and efficiency initiatives. SMEs will play a crucial part, and those companies that rise to this challenge stand to gain from the expanded opportunities.

March 12, 2024
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