Michael Gove

Among the ideas being discussed with Michael Gove were suspending VAT and National Insurance payments for SMEs

The taxman has been ordered to soften its revenue-raising zeal in event of a no-deal Brexit, Michael Gove – the cabinet minister in charge of no-deal planning — has told business groups.

Ministers have told HMRC to drop its usual tough guy tactics when small businesses get into trouble paying tax late and instead be supportive, according to Sky News.

That did not mean that HMRC would cease normal tax-collecting actions, Michael Gove said, but that it should prioritise measures to ease the ‎burden on SMEs facing financial strain.

Business organsiations present included the CBI, Institute of Directors, Association of British Insurers and the British Retail Consortium.

Other ideas discussed at the meeting included the possibility of VAT and National Insurance contribution holidays for SMEs, high-street banks relaxing their lending criteria for small businesses and easing the regulatory burden on businesses by suspending any implementation of new rules.

Mr Gove was joined at the meeting by business minister Jo Johnson and Sir Edward Lister, ‎the prime minister’s chief of staff.

Other business groups that joined the meeting with Mr Gove were the Creative Industries Federation, the Food and Drink Federation, Make UK, Tech UK, UK Finance and UK Hospitality.

Further reading

Small business exporters shrug of threat of no-deal Brexit

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