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Removal of Time to Pay threatens the life blood of our economy

By Bob Lewis-Basson

UK Business Advisors (UKBA) believes that Time to Pay has been a major help to small businesses, and is concerned that its withdrawal will threaten the survival of many small businesses, just at the time that the economy is looking to them to help pull the country out of the slump.

Time to Pay is a government initiative by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that enables businesses to spread tax payments over several stages.  It has been particularly helpful to small business with smoothing out quarterly VAT payments.  Three small payments are much easier to manage than one large one.

However the latest HMRC stats show that the Revenue are only granting Time to Pay at a third of the level in 2009.  This is because they have made it clear that they will not allow repeat applications.  HMRC have now announced that they will no longer publish statistics on this important safety net, further threatening the survival of this scheme.

The recent poor performance figures from HMRC appear to reflect considerable disruption within their ranks.  The recent announcement that they would no longer publish figures for those seeking time to pay is another effort at cost reduction.  However, the government’s dislike of Key Performance Indicators seems to throw the baby out with the bath water. It may cost a little to produce them, but they are an important benchmark to measure performance improvements and deterioration, from which further actions can be made.

Chris Scanlon at UK Business Advisors commented “The loss of this particular piece of information in the economic jigsaw is a cause for concern.  The UK Business Advisors thoroughly endorse the publication of Key Performance Indicators to measure performance and thereby trigger appropriate actions”.  He went on to say “More importantly we need to keep Time to Pay in place as a way of helping business through these very turbulent economic times”.

Chris Scanlon is a business advisor within TVBA, the Thames Valley region of the UKBA network. For full details visit the UKBA website

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