HR · 19 May 2017

Small firms urge politicians not to forget domestic election agenda

Support for the self-employed will be a key small business priority at this election

Concerns like support for the rights of self-employed workers and infrastructure investment are just as important to the election agenda of small business owners as Brexit, new research has shown.

When asked to identify the single most important issue on their general election agenda, 76 per cent of respondents to a new survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) outlined an issue other than Brexit as their top priority for the next government.

Some 46 per cent of small business owners cited improving support for the self-employed as a key concern, wanting to see a new government re-balance access to social security and pensions for self-employed workers, and provide them with greater access to financial products that suit them.

Long-term economic growth was also found to be a key election concern for small business owners. Around 38 per cent of small company owners urged the government to invest more in infrastructure, while 27 per cent said investing in skills should be the priority.

Commenting on the survey results, FSB national chairman, Mike Cherry, said that against the backdrop of Brexit, small business owners had highlighted some more pressing issues.

He said: “It is clear from this member survey that there are plenty of domestic issues which will also be crucial in ensuring the success of small businesses over the course of the next parliament.

“Small firms across the board have seen the costs of doing business going up and up in recent years. The next government must help small businesses to thrive and avoid throwing more barriers – both financial and regulatory – in their way.”

Despite the growing list of domestic concerns, Brexit remains an important issue for small business owners as this year’s general election approaches. As many as 61 per cent of survey respondents included delivering a good Brexit deal amongst their list of election priorities.

“Clearly Brexit is the backdrop to this election, and small businesses want to see easy-to-use trade deals, continued access to the skills and workforce that they need and a replacement for EU funding and investment streams,” added Cherry.

MPs demand end to bogus self-employment and gig economy exploitation

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.