The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has presented a comprehensive plan with over 150 recommendations aimed at driving growth for small businesses in the UK.

These recommendations highlight the critical role small businesses play in providing jobs and contributing to the unique character of towns, villages, and cities across the nation.

Following the launch of the Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto, Tina McKenzie, Policy Chair of the FSB, expressed optimism about the party’s recognition of the self-employed. McKenzie highlighted the FSB’s history, which began 50 years ago in response to a proposed increase in national insurance contributions (NICs) for the self-employed. She welcomed the Conservative pledge to scrap self-employed NICs within the next five years, calling it a significant move to foster entrepreneurship.

McKenzie also called for a similar tax initiative to support directors of small limited companies, a vital segment of the small business community. She suggested that expanding the employment allowance to reduce employer NICs would help address rising employment costs and create new jobs.

Key Pledges

The Conservative manifesto includes several commitments that resonate with small business interests:

  • A pledge not to raise capital gains tax and to protect small businesses through entrepreneurs’ business asset disposal relief.
  • A commitment to keep further increases to the VAT threshold under review, with a focus on avoiding costly and bureaucratic implications for small businesses.
  • A proposal to change the business rates formula for out-of-town warehouses of online giants, potentially lifting more small firms out of business rates and maintaining rate reductions for hospitality, leisure, and high street small businesses in England.

The Conservative manifesto acknowledges the issue of poor payment practices by large businesses towards their smaller suppliers. McKenzie emphasized the need for the next government to tackle this problem to ensure fairness and predictable cash flow for small businesses, which can then be reinvested. Extending the powers of the Small Business Commissioner is seen as a step in the right direction.

McKenzie expressed concerns about the end of the Shared Prosperity Fund, which impacts all four nations of the UK. She stressed the importance of a robust offer to drive growth across Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England.

The Federation of Small Businesses’ detailed plan aims to support small businesses and includes numerous recommendations to foster growth. The organisation urges whichever party forms the next government to take decisive actions to ensure the UK has a strong small business economy.

McKenzie concluded, “Whoever wins the next election, there is a lot to do to make sure the UK has the strong small business economy we all need.”