Small Businesses Need More Clout in Whitehall

Small firms need more political clout in Whitehall, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which is calling for a separate government body to represent small businesses.

While different government departments dealt with small-business policy, no one overall body was responsible for “thinking small”, the lobby group said.

Instead, a new Small Business Administration (SBA), modelled on a similar agency in the United States, could make a positive difference to small firms by giving them a louder voice in shaping policy, according to the FSB.

John Walker, FSB national chairman, said:

“The chancellor has made clear that there will be no big tax giveaways in this year’s Budget and that it is up to the private sector to drive economic recovery.”

“In order to do that, the Government must think small first by giving the UK’s 4.5 million small businesses a more prominent seat.”

Walker added that the creation of an organisation along the lines of the SBA would make it easier for the Government to implement measures aimed at boosting the growth of small businesses, such as credit easing and procurement opportunities, as well as improving communication between Whitehall and small firms.

Commenting on the proposal, a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) spokesman insisted that small firms were “right at the heart of the Government’s economic plan”, and that small business minister Mark Prisk represented small business interests.

“The Government is striving to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business,” he said. “That is why the Government has cut the small firms’ tax rate to 20% and why we have announced an unprecedented three-year moratorium on new domestic regulation for micro-businesses and start-ups.”

Further details of the Government’s growth strategy would be unveiled in the forthcoming Budget on 21 March, according to BIS.

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