The FSB regional team engaged with candidates from across the parties ahead of last month’s General Election in order to advocate on behalf of small firms and the self-employed.
Small Business, Big Ambition, the FSB’s election manifesto, received coverage across the print media in Norfolk and Suffolk, while Regional Chair Salena Dawson also spoke on local radio about some of our key election asks.
In particular, we called on candidates to deliver on five key points:
A pro-business Brexit—the next government would need to recognise that the UK’s departure from the EU would bring opportunities and risks, and ensure that the new arrangements allowed small firms to trade easily with the EU and to hire the talent they needed – all within a regulatory environment that supported growth and productivity.
Create a level playing field - we argued that increased transparency around the payment practices of larger firms was positive but insufficient, and that legislative action was now necessary to tackle some of the worst behaviour.
Improve working lives - we called for the next government to focus on a new skills agenda – including helping business owners and the self-employed to develop their leadership and management skills. The self-employed, we said, must no longer be an afterthought in government policy-making.
Drive down the cost of doing business - steps would need to be taken by the next government to ease the pressures being caused by the increasing cost of doing business. The government could, we said, increase the Employment Allowance, and should commit to a fundamental review of the business rates system, which is no longer fit for purpose.
Focus on the regions--Businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk face different challenges to other regions in the UK, and we argued that policy-making should reflect this diversity. In particular the government would need to ensure that rural areas were not forgotten.