The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has presented its Budget submission to the Treasury on behalf of its 200,000 members, seeking to better inform the Chancellor on how he can continue economic growth through effective assistance to small employers and the self-employed.
According to statistics, although the small business sector is growing, an increasing number of businesses are choosing not to employ staff because of onerous employment legislation. 35% of FSB members recently polled have chosen not to employ anyone, citing employees as "too much of a risk". Given that 58% of the private sector workforce (some twelve million people) are employed in small businesses, the potential impact on the economy if this slowdown were to continue is clear. The FSB is therefore calling for the employment law burden to be reduced considerably on small businesses.
In particular, the FSB’s Budget submission calls for:
- assurance that all school-leavers will have basic literacy, numeracy, communications and personal presentation skills;
- recognition for informal training on the job in the workplace and more bite-sized vocational courses that small firms can access for their staff;
- entrepreneurship to be encouraged at school;
- taxes that are low, simple and stable – changing tax rates and altering their nature hits business confidence and planning – National Insurance in particular should be simplified;
- greater knowledge and understanding of small businesses in Government Departments
- ;greater allocation of funding to road and rail infrastructure;
- more flexible approach to labour law so that the variance in needs between small and large businesses is recognised – compliance costs are much higher for small businesses;
- the Government to stop using employers to administer benefits via the payroll;
- a tightening up of Regulatory Impact Assessments to reduce the red tape burden on businesses;
- the National Minimum Wage to rise only by inflation in future to avoid hitting businesses hard in some regions and sectors;
- the end of IR35 – it is an administrative burden for businesses and HMRC and brings in little revenue;
- tax reforms on climate change to be revenue-neutral;
- more effort to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of energy with recognition that small businesses need to be recognised as a separate consumer group in the energy market;
- Local authorities to engage with their business communities and procure from them where possible – the trend for public sector contracts being aggregated unfairly cuts small businesses out of the process and can work against best value for public spending; and
- the continuation of the welcome initiative to streamline business support schemes.