FSB encourages political parties to get behind SMEs

Friday 6 May 2016

With major elections happening in London, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and local elections in England, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged all parties across the political spectrum to support SMEs.

Mike Cherry, national chairman for the FSB, said the body has engaged with thousands of candidates from all major parties and urged them to put support for small businesses at the heart of their campaign. He explained that the FSB had created individual manifestos for each of the UK's nations to reflect the diversity of small businesses in each region and their varied needs.

From today, a brand new set of individuals will take up positions, and they will have the power to "make positive change" across the UK for small firms, Mr Cherry stated.

He said: “This is an exciting time of change and we want to see newly elected candidates and those serving second terms to champion the UK’s 5.4 million small firms more than ever and make sure they have the right support to continue propelling the UK economy forwards."

Businesses of this size need stability, certainty and a comprehensive vision for the future from leaders, Mr Cherry added.

The FSB has also been campaigning for change in schools, to ensure that career advice is improved to give students the best chance of realising their potential.

In a letter to the secretary of state Nicky Morgan, the FSB, the British Chambers of Commerce and the manufacturers’ association the EEF, called for changes to the statutory guidance. Under their plan, all schools would need to work towards a quality award for careers education, information, advice and guidance that meets an approved standard determined by the Department for Education.

Currently, statutory guidance only recommends that schools work towards a careers quality mark that satisfies an approved standard. The signatories argue that this isn't strong enough and is often ignored by schools.

The letter states: "The central problem facing careers education is that schools are not incentivised to take careers advice seriously."

Martin McTague, policy director at the FSB, said getting good independent advice at the right time can "transform a young person’s chances of finding a job they love and fulfilling their potential".

This move could help more young people consider self-employment as an option when leaving school, or potentially starting their own small business.

Research in 2014 by Harris Poll and CreativeLive found that 67 per cent of millennials - those between 18 and 34 years old - want to leave the traditional work structure and become self-employed.

By Victoria McDonnell

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