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The small business community has expressed hope that the Queen’s Speech will be followed-up with a business-friendly budget in the new year.
Responding to the Queen’s Speech, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chairman Mike Cherry said that the small business community is hopeful that the Queen’s Speech will translate into a budget that encompasses the fundamental review of the regressive rates system promised.
“We’ve fought hard to secure an extension of the business rates retail discount. Today, we’ve seen the first step towards that extension being enshrined in law,” said Mr Cherry.
“Our small high street businesses are faced with a hugely challenging environment – confidence among small retailers has tumbled to new depths this year. This reduction in the £25 billion business rates burden promises to help breathe new life into our small shops, restaurants and cinemas.”
Mr Cherry noted that it is critical for the government to deliver on its commitment to increase the employment allowance for small firms, given the increase in employment costs over the last 12 months.
“Small businesses are looking to this new administration to inject some stability and certainty into the Brexit process. Swiftly agreeing a future trading relationship with the EU – and countries beyond the bloc – should help to reinject some confidence into the small business community. All future UK trade agreements must include a small business chapter,” he said.
Touching on immigration, the FSB chairman explained that it’s important that this new government remembers that many small businesses rely on low and mid-skilled employees who have come here from outside the UK.
“More than nine in 10 small firms have no experience of using a model akin to that which is now being proposed,” said Mr Cherry.
“We look forward to providing evidence and insight on the distinct needs of small employers to policymakers to ensure that our new immigration system protects access to the skills small firms need. It’s also important to ensure entrepreneurs from all over the world are able to set-up shop in the UK, create jobs and push our economy forward.”
In concluding his response, Mr Cherry added that the government’s commitment to bolstering broadband investment is hugely welcome.
“As business owners, we can’t run before we can walk. We need the fundamentals – not least decent connectivity – in place before we can achieve our full potential,” he said.