The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has shared its strategy for the small business community with the UK’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
While the FSB is keen to see the incoming Prime Minister focus firmly on resolving the impasse regarding the UK’s future relationship with the European Union (EU), it says there are three key areas that are front and centre for small business owners.
FSB representatives met with Mr Johnson and his team prior to his appointment to outline the priorities of FSB members for the new administration.
The FSB wants the new administration to ease small firms battling rising employment costs by increasing the £3,000 Employment Allowance.
It has urged the Government to see through the promised national insurance holiday for businesses that employ people furthest from the labour market. Meanwhile Statutory Sick Pay rebates and commitments to apprenticeship funding are also high on the FSB’s agenda.
Furthermore, the FSB wants the Government to follow Scotland’s lead by giving nurseries 100% rate relief to protect the childcare needs of hard-working families up and down the country.
The FSB also wants the new administration to commit to increased investment in the UK’s broadband and phone infrastructure.
Dependable 4G connectivity, as well as delivering the download and upload speeds that small firms are entitled to, should be a priority to create a “pro-enterprise environment”, according to Mike Cherry, National Chairman, FSB.
Finally, he called on the Prime Minister to extend the two-year 33% rates discount currently benefitting small retailers in England and Wales with rateable values up to £51,000 to small manufacturers too. It also believes this relief should be made permanent.
“As things stand, small business confidence is at rock-bottom: political uncertainty has left us unable to invest, grow and plan for the future,” said Cherry.
“The UK has long been one of the best places in the world to do business. It’s crucial that we keep it that way.
“We had promising discussions with Boris Johnson during his [leadership] campaign and look forward to working with him on the issues that matter most to small businesses.”
FSB in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales react to PM's funding pledge
The FSB in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has welcomed Johnson’s pledge of £300 million funding for those communities but warned that the UK Government’s priority must be to avoid a no-deal no-transition Brexit.
The FSB has also urged the UK Government to work in partnership with the Scottish and Welsh Governments to avoid creating competing initiatives and programmes and to redouble efforts to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive, so that the region with a land border with the EU is also actively represented as plans develop.
In a joint statement Andrew McRae FSB’s Scotland policy chair, Ben Francis FSB’s Wales policy chair, and Tina McKenzie FSB’s NI policy chair said: “As the new Prime Minister reveals an ambitious programme of initiatives to boost UK productivity, his officials must work to ensure that they deliver for firms in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“New schemes must work in a devolved context and should not duplicate the efforts of the devolved Governments. For example, the replacement to EU structural funds – the so-called Shared Prosperity Fund – should be directed from Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast for spending in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.”