FSB is calling on candidates to commit to a three-point plan dedicated to helping small businesses bounce back
As lockdown restrictions ease, businesses have reopened their doors to their customers, while some are still anticipating their opening date as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s four-step plan to ease England’s lockdown. However, business leaders are urging politicians to direct help those who need it the most. Ahead of election day on May 6, The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging election candidates from all major parties to help small businesses and the self-employed get back on their own two feet.
UK’s elections are being on May 6 across England, Scotland and Wales as voters head to the polls to vote for their chosen candidate. Now, the FSB is calling on election candidates to commit to a three-point plan to spur recovery amongst the small business community and urging candidates to prioritise the needs of SMEs as part of their manifesto ‘ and this includes helping to get business grants out quickly to small businesses. Small businesses who desperately need the funds have still yet to receive their share as part of government schemes to help them stay afloat during the pandemic. The FSB insists that local authorities should go to all lengths to ensure councils across the region get the grants out quickly, fairly and consistently. Politicians should also prioritise getting customers back to shops safely, FSB said. This can be done by exploring innovative and collaborative initiatives across the region, which can encourage people to back their local small firms and high streets once again. The FSB has also urged electoral candidates to address the issue of late payments, and are calling on candidates to ensure small firms, supply chains and the self-employed are paid within 30 days on time.
FSB’s latest Small Business Index survey showed business confidence in the UK is on the rise, at +27.3 in the first quarter of this year, with almost two thirds (58%) of small firms expecting their performance to improve this quarter. The three-point pledge aims to ensure this confidence grows amongst the small business community, bolstering the economy both locally and across the country. FSB is also calling for action to help jumpstart the housebuilding sector post-Covid and investigate the impact the pandemic has had on female-led businesses.
After an incredibly hard year we are at a critical moment, Chair of FSB’s England Policy Unit, Ian O’Donnell, said. The Government’s roadmap has provided small firms with some certainty and confidence moving forward, but to ensure reopening is successful, it must be powered by collaboration and innovation.
That is why we are calling on all major parties and candidates at all levels across England, to commit to our three-point plan to back small business. When in office, those elected representatives must make sure their local small business and self-employed community is given the right support over the coming weeks and months.
The lifeline provided through local government over the past year has been invaluable to many, but some of the funding continues to stall, leaving small businesses, including those in the supply chain and owner-directors, without the money they desperately need. Those taking office can make a real difference in changing this by prioritising getting Restart grants out the door, pooling resources and sharing best practice in supporting local small firms.
We are also calling for those elected to office to help ensure small businesses and the self-employed are paid in full and on time. We need to end the late payments crisis, which stands at £23bn and has only worsened through the pandemic. We must work together across the region to take the steps needed to get our small businesses open on the strongest possible footing in order to make a full and fast business recovery.