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Small business community demands attention as polling day looms

The small business community is asking the next government to “fundamentally reform business rates” by making the retail discount permanent and removing more small businesses from the system altogether.

Small business community demands attention as polling day looms
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • November 18, 2019
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With fewer than four weeks until the UK heads to the polls, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which represents small firms and the self-employed, has launched its Back to Business 2019 manifesto.

Fresh analysis from the group shows that there are typically 7,000 sole traders in every UK constituency, part of a wider community of more than 25,000 people who work in smaller businesses. 

As many high streets across the country continue to struggle, FSB is asking the next government to fundamentally reform business rates, by enhancing and making permanent the retail discount – which entitles small shops in England to a third off their rates bills – and removing more small businesses from the system altogether. 

Moreover, FSB is asking the new government to reduce the burden of Employer’s National Insurance Contributions, which effectively serve as a ‘jobs tax’, by uprating the employment allowance. Doing so would, as in years past, ensure that no small business employing four people on the national living wage pays Employer’s NICs, the body said.

Elsewhere, FSB is reiterating the need to implement the measures it has previously secured that are aimed at ending a £2.5 billion late payment crisis that destroys 50,000 businesses a year.

They include making the audit committee of every large business responsible for payment practices; properly empowering a swiftly appointed Small Business Commissioner; and banning late payers from all public sector procurement opportunities.

“For the last three years, the interminable uncertainty around Brexit has dragged focus, attention and imagination away from the task of helping the UK’s 5.8 million small businesses to survive, grow and enhance our communities,” said FSB national chairman Mike Cherry.

“It’s time to get back to business. 

“We are urging all candidates standing at this election to listen to, and make every effort to understand, the challenges faced by small firms in the communities they hope to represent.”

You can find the FSB’s manifesto here.

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