Forum sets out election agenda to support business growth
Ahead of Thursday’s election, the Forum of Private Business is encouraging the future government to create conditions for an increase in business performance and productivity both in UK trading and exporting overseas.
Managing director Ian Cass said: “A 1% increase in productivity achieved across the UK macro economy would add almost £20bn to our national output. It would also reduce the annual government deficit by around £8bn, add £250 a year to the average wage packet and increase annual profits across the country by almost £3.5bn. Small rises in business productivity have a massive impact.
“The issue we have is that it is becoming increasingly clear that the government, ministers and MPs do not fully understand how a small business works. Their own Regulatory Policy Committee pointed out that, too often, departments have failed to provide relatively basic evidence such as the proportion of those affected by regulations.
“All businesses have their challenges, opportunities and motivations, but small businesses make up the largest part of the UK economy and it’s important that the government understands them, makes regulation that helps rather than hinders them and addresses the issues that stop small business people building and developing their business and making it more productive.”
The forum has thus compiled a 10-point wish list setting out what it wants to see from the new government, as follows.
1. A commitment to a better understanding of small businesses, their issues, opportunities and threats, and to start introducing better regulation that helps and not hinders them.
2. Small businesses frequently find themselves operating at a disadvantage to large businesses, and have a couple of simple requests from the government. To make it simpler to do business, and to give them a level playing field to operate on.
3. Clear communication of Brexit negotiations, keeping businesses well informed of the direction if not the detail.
4. Rewarding successful entrepreneurs. Consecutive governments have gradually removed rewards, and the dividend threshold should be raised to £10,000 for small business owners, the majority of who do not pay themselves the living wage.
5. Simplification of the tax system. The government needs finally to start working on simplifying and equally applying the tax rules in the UK.
6. Removal of unnecessary red tape that gets in the way of creativity and productivity.
7. A focus on education and training, addressing the skills gaps in the UK economy.
8. Promotion of good business practices, such as healthcare and stress issues.
9. Actively to put in place a regional rebalancing of the UK economy.
10. Clarifying the business rates discussion with an educated proactive debate on the future of our high streets and how business rates impact on this as part of our industrial strategy.