In response to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a General Election, Rory MccGwire, founder of Start Up Donut, a leading small business advice website in the UK, has highlighted the significant influence of small business workers.

MccGwire emphasised that 16 million voters work in small businesses across the country.

MccGwire expressed frustration with the political parties, stating, “Small businesses and the self-employed feel completely taken for granted at election time. All the political parties talk about SMEs being ‘the engine of the economy’, but then focus their attention on keeping big business, the unions, and the taxpayer happy.”

He criticised the politicians for their generic promises of pro-growth and pro-business policies, arguing that they lack a true understanding of the challenges faced by small business owners. “None of the politicians seem to have a clue about what it is like to actually run a small business,” he added.

Challenges Faced by Small Business Owners

Highlighting the financial instability faced by small business owners, MccGwire pointed out, “As a small business owner, there is no minimum wage in your case. You are simply left with whatever cash is left that month, after paying all your costs.” He also mentioned the issue of late payments from large businesses, which often lead to significant delays and frustrations for small business suppliers.

“Every year at Budget time, the government of the day beats its chest and growls about the scourge of late payment, then announces yet another consultation on how to fix it. Nothing actually changes. Late payment is allowed to carry on bankrupting small businesses year after year,” MccGwire stated.

Proposals for Easing the Burden on Small Businesses

MccGwire proposed several changes that could alleviate the challenges faced by small businesses:

  • Simplify the Tax Regime: Simplifying the tax system so SMEs do not need to hire expensive tax advisers to determine their tax liabilities. He also suggested improving the HMRC helpline to provide more comprehensive support rather than directing businesses to seek external advice.
  • Re-introduce the Enterprise Allowance: Supporting start-ups during the initial stages before they establish a customer base. Many businesses fail during this critical period.
  • Stable Business Support Initiatives: MccGwire criticised the constant creation and termination of business support initiatives. He urged for consistency and stability in support programmes to avoid wasting money and effort.
  • Expand the Business Support Service: Enhancing the scope of the Business Support Service to address common questions from start-ups and small businesses directly, rather than merely signposting them to local organisations with limited resources.

Call for Action

MccGwire concluded, “None of this is rocket science. There have been more consultations than one can shake a stick at, all pointing out exactly the same problems year after year, decade after decade. What SMEs want is for the government to simply do what works and then stick to it.”

The upcoming election presents an opportunity for political parties to genuinely address the needs of small businesses, recognising their critical role in the economy and providing the necessary support to foster their growth and sustainability.