FSB calls on Johnson to secure pro-business EU withdrawal
The Federation of Small Businesses is calling on the new government to resolve the Brexit impasse and focus on key issues troubling small firms.
Following the announcement that Boris Johnson MP is to become the next UK Prime Minister, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the new government to resolve the Brexit impasse, thereby allowing policymakers to focus on key issues that are front of mind for small firms.
“Securing a pro-business EU withdrawal agreement that can command a majority in the House of Commons is task one for this new administration. Brexit has been absorbing government bandwidth for years now, leaving domestic challenges unaddressed," said FSB national chairman Mike Cherry.
The UK’s largest business group is urging Johnson to modernise a regressive business rates system by extending the two-year 33 per cent rates discount enjoyed by small retailers with rateable values up to £51,000 to manufacturers, and making this discount permanent, whilst also following Scotland’s lead by giving nurseries 100 per cent rate relief.
FSB is also asking the new PM to assist small businesses struggling with spiralling employment costs by uprating the £3,000 employment allowance, delivering a promised national insurance holiday for firms that employ those furthest from the labour market, introducing a rebate for statutory sick pay, and shoring up apprenticeship funding.
Moreover, the business group believes Johnson should significantly increase investment in the UK’s broadband and phone infrastructure, ensuring all small firms have access to the upload and download speeds they are entitled to under the Universal Service Obligation (USO) and reliable 4G connectivity.
“We need to see a real sense of urgency from this new Prime Minister when it comes to creating a pro-enterprise environment. As things stand, small business confidence is at rock-bottom: political uncertainty has left us unable to invest, grow and plan for the future," said Mr Cherry.
“We need to get back to basics. Closing the UK’s productivity gap and increasing GDP growth will only happen when small firms have the political certainty, tax reform and world-leading infrastructure needed to take risks and innovate. Time is of the essence for this new government," he concluded.