In a first survey since the Conservative Party won with a full majority, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called the Government to deliver the best conditions for small businesses to thrive over the next election period.
The survey of over 2,327 small businesses was undertaken to identify the main concerns business owners wanted the new Government to address. The FSB research outlined 10 key priorities for its members to prosper (see below). It found that over a third (35%) of the respondents listed a sustained economic recovery as their top priority from the new Government.
Other important factors (not in order of priorities) for start-ups and SMEs included lowering the cost of doing business and guaranteeing growth and prosperity not just in London or the South East of England but every corner of the UK. More than half (53%) of the respondents said they wanted ministers to minimise the regulatory burden on SMEs and 51% called for the simplification of the UK tax system.
Broadband was the fifth-most commonly cited issue, with 39% of SMEs hoping for action on fixed-line speeds and coverage. Other important priorities that business owners want the Government to focus on until the next Parliament was the reforming of business rates (44%) and improving the employability of young people (41%).
Claiming that the research findings send a ‘very clear message’ on what SMEs want from the new Government, National Policy Chairman of FSB, Mark Cherry said, “This response from FSB members shows first and foremost businesses want stability and certainty. This require 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 added, “Over the five years of this Parliament, our member’s top priorities 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. We look forward to meeting with Ministers to discuss how we can help make this happen and continue to foster the economic conditions which allow enterprise to flourish.”
The following is a list of Top 10 issue FSB members want the Conservative Government to focus on:
- Reduce regulatory burden (53%)
- Introduce a more simplified tax system (51%)
- Reform business rates (44%)
- Improve the employability skills of young people (41%)
- Deliver improved broadband / mobile connectivity (39%)
- Help UK small businesses to create more jobs (34%)
- Tackle late payments (33%)
- Lower energy costs for businesses (30%)
- Ensure better access to finance (28%)
- Increase investment in infrastructure (26%)