Queen's speech signals good news for SMEs

Monday 23 May 2016

The economic climate has been a bit of a mixed bag for small businesses and sole traders, but the latest Queen's speech could signal a bright future for smaller firms and self-employed professionals.

Released last week, the announcement could make it easier for small businesses to grow and compete with larger companies. It outlined a strict timeline for reform, which would help and support small firms to regain confidence and further expand if they want to.

The Queen said legislation would be introduced to ensure Britain has the infrastructure that businesses need to grow, which would help strengthen the economic recovery, as well as create jobs and more apprenticeships.

There was also positive news for those working in digital or outside of London, with promises made to spread economic prosperity and develop the Northern Powerhouse and introduce legislation to position the UK as a world leader in the digital economy.

Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), welcomed the news, saying that it would help rebalance the economy.

He said a number of Bills had been announced that would have a big impact on small businesses and their ability to grow.

"A key theme appears to be improving the workings of dysfunctional markets and investing in key infrastructure. Helping to rebalance the economy and deliver growth in all parts of the country will be a fundamental test of this parliament, and we are pleased this appears to be another core theme of the coming legislative programme," he added.

Although the announcements from the Queen's speech are positive for smaller businesses, there are still concerns about confidence among firms of this size and how this could affect expansion efforts in the future.

The Small Business Index from the FSB found that small business confidence has fallen to its lowest level since 2013, with many firms wanting to see more support from the government.

Mr Cherry said the FSB would "closely monitor" the Better Markets Bill, which could help boost competitiveness and drive growth with small businesses, as well as the Digital Economy Bill set to improve to broadband for business premises.

However, he highlighted the importance of supporting the Northern Powerhouse, reforming intellectual property, further aiding local growth, and ensuring young people get the best career advice.

By Victoria McDonnell

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