In the first survey of small business owners to be conducted since the 2015 UK General Election, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reveals results from 2,327 small firms. The FSB research found well over a third (35%) of the businesses questioned wanted a sustained economic recovery to be the top priority for the new Conservative Government in the next parliament.
Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman of FSB, said: “This response from FSB members shows first and foremost businesses want stability and certainty. This requires 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.”
Other important priorities for business owners were lowering the cost of doing business and ensuring growth in every nation and region of the UK, not just London and the south east.
When asked what issues they would like the Government to focus on over the next five years, well over half (53%) said they wanted Ministers to reduce the regulatory burden on business, with simplification of the tax system a close second on 51 per cent. Business owners were also clear that reforming business rates and improving the employability of young people were important benchmarks for the next five years.
As part of the survey, FSB members were also asked to say how confident they are the new Government will deliver for small businesses. Many appeared positive with half (51%) saying they are either confident or very confident. However, with over a quarter (28%) claiming to be either unconfident or very unconfident, Ministers will have to move quickly to demonstrate that they will truly do all they can to back small business.
Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“Today’s wide ranging research sends a very clear message on what small businesses want from the new Government – a supportive, light touch tax and regulatory environment in which to grow their business, creating prosperity and jobs.
“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.”
Top ten issues small businesses want new Government to focus on in next five years:
- 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%)
Further details on what FSB would like from the 2015-20 Government can be found in our Business Manifesto and on the www.ibacksmallbusiness.com/ website.
FSB spokespeople will be available for interview on Monday 11 May 2015.
The FSB has an ISDN line available suitable for live and pre-recorded radio interviews. Please contact the press office for further details.
Notes to Editors
1) The FSB is the UK’s leading business organisation with around 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the UK’s Real-Life Entrepreneurs who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk and follow on twitter @fsb_policy
2) On behalf of the FSB, Verve surveyed 2,327 FSB members on 08-09 May 2015 following the outcome of the UK General Election. Members were able to select multiple issues but only one top priority. Full details of this research are available on request from the FSB press office.
3) At the start of 2014 there was an estimated 5.2 million businesses in the UK which employed 25.2 million people, and had a combined turnover of more than £3,500 billion. Figures obtained from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
4) #ibacksmallbusiness is the FSB’s business manifesto for the new Government which launched in November 2014. It contains the key issues FSB members want addressed during the next five years. For more information please go to http://www.ibacksmallbusiness.com/