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Small Business, Big Ambition: Engaging our MPs

At the time of writing, the election results are freshly in and in all but two constituencies across our region of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, the sitting MP was re-elected; in all cases, the sitting party remains the same. However the political landscape has changed and it’s essential that domestic business issues are addressed by national government as well as those relating to Brexit. One key message is, as always, that we need stability and assurance that the importance and needs of SMEs will be recognised.

Small Business, Big Ambition: Engaging our MPs

The snap election gave our region the opportunity to share our members’ concerns with candidates through the FSBs Manifesto- ‘Small Business, Big Ambition’

Our work locally is supported by a rigorous national survey programme, to understand the everyday experiences of business owners and the self-employed. It’s from our local knowledge and this authoritative work that we produce both our regular policy reports and this manifesto.

Every candidate from the main parties was sent our manifesto which was built around five key areas:

  1. Secure a pro-business Brexit: We want to see a Brexit where small firms can trade easily with the EU as well as with new markets, and where they can hire the right talent, when they need it. They also want to do this in a regulatory system that supports growth and productivity, and with a refresh of previously EU-funded schemes which have delivered business support and access to finance.
  2. Creating a level playing field: SMEs are inherently more vulnerable in the economy than larger firms and operate under a number of constraints tied to their size and reduced bargaining power. Smaller firms must be protected, especially in regulated markets and in the face of a poor payments crisis.
  3. Improve working lives: Entrepreneurial spirit should be celebrated and protected by the next Government. The reality of self-employment, in particular the risks, the volatility of their income, rights, and the social issues they face– such as difficulty accessing mortgages – should be properly understood and addressed. 
  4. Opportunity in every area around the UK: Supporting small businesses, be that on high streets, in town centres, in suburbs or in villages, will help make sure every area of the UK maintains its unique character and sense of community. Infrastructure– including the new utilities such as broadband and mobile – needs to be addressed to build a country where small firms in every region have the best environment and framework they need to grow and create jobs.
  5. Driving down the cost of doing business: High costs of doing business have a direct negative impact on growth, jobs, and what is on offer to the UK consumer. The introduction of automatic enrolment of pensions and the National Living Wage have significantly increased employment costs. The next Government should raise the Employment Allowance to £4,000 and commit to a review of business rates, as an unfair and regressive tax that takes no account of a firm’s ability to pay.

You can find the full manifesto at http://www.fsb.org.uk/standing-up-for-you/general-election-2017 . This manifesto provides a task-list for the UK Government to ensure that it is working to support small businesses and the self-employed, and should act as a guide to our local MPs to support small businesses and self-employed in our area. 

We now have work to do to ensure MPs are listening to SMEs in their constituency; please get in touch if you would like to share your story or flag an issue, meet your MP, show them around your business, attend a roundtable or otherwise demonstrate how your business needs support in your local constituency and from national government. Please contact Jennifer.thomas@fsb.org.uk.