Small businesses issue demands for new government

Friday 15 May 2015

The UK's small businesses have spoken out about what they would like the new Conservative government to do to help stimulate their sectors and the economy as a whole.

Research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) following the Election show that shows that a sustained economic recovery is the most important factor among the  2,327 small firms surveyed.

When questioned, more than a third (35%) of the businesses said that sustained economic recovery needs to be the top priority for the new Conservative government in the next parliament.

Other important priorities for sole traders and limited companies included lowering the cost of doing business and ensuring growth in every nation and region of the UK, rather than just London and the south east.

When asked what issues they would like the government to focus on over the next five years, 53% said they wanted ministers to reduce the regulatory burden on business.

Simplification of the tax system was a close second on 51 per cent, with business owners adamant that reforming business rates and improving the employability of young people will be important benchmarks for the next five years.

Survey respondents were also asked to say how confident they are the new government will deliver for small businesses, with 51% saying they are either confident or very confident, and 28% claiming to be either unconfident or very unconfident.

Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman at the FSB, said the response indicates that businesses want "stability and certainty".

"This requires putting public finances on a sound footing, and then for ministers to give a comprehensive vision for how they will support enterprise followed by a clear timetable for when they will deliver it," he explained.

"Today's wide ranging research sends a very clear message on what small businesses want from the new government - a supportive, light touch tax and regulatory environment in which to grow their business, creating prosperity and jobs."

In the longer term, the top priorities over the five years of this Parliament are to lighten the burdens of regulation and tax, reform broken business rates, support the development and skills of young people, and improve broadband and mobile connectivity.

Mr Cherry added that he is "looking forward" to meeting with ministers to discuss how best to make this happen and continue to foster the economic conditions that allow enterprises to flourish.

It comes as Prime Minister David Cameron announced that Sajid Javid is to take over as the new Business Secretary, with a stir immediately caused.

In one of the biggest crackdown on industrial action since the 1980s, Mr Javid said he plans to make public sector strikes illegal unless at least 40 per cent of eligible staff vote for it and turnout in the ballot is at least 50 per cent.
It is understood ballots will have a time limit to stop strikes based on votes from years earlier, with the 40 per cent threshold would apply to workers in 'essential' services - such as health, education, fire and transport - to tackle what the Tory manifesto described as a ‘disproportionate impact of strikes’ in these areas.

By Victoria McDonnell

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