Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and the Government are committed to helping them grow and prosper. In the summer Budget we announced that we will increase the employment allowance from £2,000 to £3,000 to help small businesses with the cost of employment, and support business investment through the highest permanent level for the annual investment allowance. We will also transform the tax system over the course of this Parliament by introducing digital tax accounts.
The Government’s policies are creating a climate of economic confidence. However, they are also having the effect of strengthening the pound against other currencies, particularly the euro, which many small exporters in my constituency tell me is making the price of their exports uncompetitive. What advice and support can my hon. Friend give to those small and medium-sized exporters in Hazel Grove so that they can continue to lead our economic recovery?
We recognise that the recent weakness in our European trading partners has presented a particular challenge for SMEs trying to export. The Government are working hard to help British businesses export to a wider variety of destinations, contributing to strong recent performance in key emerging markets. That help includes a £20 million package of support this year for first-time exporters, but we need to do more and our productivity plan sets out how we will do that.
I am grateful for that question—I think. It is a review; I do not want to judge in advance what the conclusions will be, but we have engaged very fully with small business organisations and listen very carefully to what they have to say, and we will report by the end of the year.