FSB slams Coalition’s approach to small businesses

Posted on 30 Sep 2011 by The Manufacturer

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) today accused the Government of being “timid” with current policy aimed at helping small businesses.

The FSB acknowledged the fact that the Government has made some moves towards helping small businesses by reducing regulation and cutting red tape in some areas, but said that few policies, if any go far enough to tackle the problems they face and belong to a time when unemployment was lower and spending on the high street higher.

Research conducted by the FSB found that insufficient work and uncertainty over contracts (37%), the state of the economy (33%), cash-flow (31%) and access to finance, as well as the cost of credit (16%) are preventing them from taking on more staff.

The FSB has argued that those on Jobseeker’s Allowance should be allowed to take part in Work Trials from the first day they sign on before – they again call for this change. Other policies it asks to be implemented are a VAT cut of five per cent in the tourism and construction sectors for one year, and Extending the National Insurance Contributions holiday to existing businesses with three members of staff that take on up to four.

The FSB is also calling on the Government to help small businesses employ more apprentices and interns by slashing bureaucracy and re-introducing the Graduate Internship Scheme – 21% of business owners said increased support would encourage them to take on an apprentice.

FSB national chairman John Walker said: “Small firms lack confidence about their future prospects but they also hold the key to recovery. Kick-starting demand and further incentivising job creation would give small firms a fighting chance to return to growth. But as it stands, Government policies are merely scratching the surface.”

George Archer