FSB calls on election candidates to back small firms

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The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on election candidates from all major parties to help small businesses and the self-employed get on the right footing for recovery.

Ahead of the tranche of local and mayoral elections being held in England on Thursday May 6, the business group is asking politicians to commit to a three-point plan to spur recovery amongst the small business community. FSB is asking candidates from all the major parties to pledge to help:

  • Get the grants out quickly – funding for small businesses is still not getting to those that need it. Local authorities should be pulling out all the stops to make this happen. Mayoral candidates should be working to ensure councils across the region get the grants out quickly, fairly and consistently.
  • Get customers back safely – it has been an unbelievably tough year for small firms and now more than ever they need support. Candidates should commit to exploring innovative and collaborative initiatives across the region to encourage people to back their local small firms and high streets.
  • Get bills paid promptly – the pandemic has only worsened the late payments crisis. We are calling on candidates to ensure small firms, supply chains and the self-employed are paid within 30 days, on time, every time.

FSB’s latest Small Business Index survey showed business confidence in the UK is on the rise, at +27.3 in Q1 of this year, with almost two thirds (58%) of small firms expecting their performance to improve this quarter.

Acting on the three-point pledge will help ensure this confidence grows amongst the small business community, bolstering the economy both locally and across the country.

FSB is also calling for action to help jumpstart the housebuilding sector post-Covid and investigate the impact the pandemic has had on female-led businesses.

Chair of FSB’s England Policy Unit, Ian O’Donnell, said: After an incredibly hard year we are at a critical moment. The Government’s roadmap has provided small firms with some certainty and confidence moving forward, but to ensure reopening is successful, it must be powered by collaboration and innovation.

“That is why we are calling on all major parties and candidates at all levels across England, to commit to our three-point plan to back small business. When in office, those elected representatives must make sure their local small business and self-employed community is given the right support over the coming weeks and months.

“The lifeline provided through local government over the past year has been invaluable to many, but some of the funding continues to stall, leaving small businesses, including those in the supply chain and owner-directors, without the money they desperately need. Those taking office can make a real difference in changing this by prioritising getting Restart grants out the door, pooling resources and sharing best practice in supporting local small firms.

We are also calling for those elected to office to help ensure small businesses and the self-employed are paid in full and on time. We need to end the late payments crisis, which stands at £23 billion and has only worsened through the pandemic.

“We must work together across the region to take the steps needed to get our small businesses open on the strongest possible footing in order to make a full and fast business recovery.”