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FSB urges all parties to back the 4.8 million UK self-employed

self-employed

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is warning political parties against standing in the way of the UK’s millions of self-employed strivers with post-election tax hikes, including National Insurance.

In its small business election manifesto, ‘Small Business, Big Ambition,’ FSB calls on parties wanting to form the next Government, and candidates standing for Parliament, to make a positive commitment not to single-out the self-employed for tax rises. There should also be greater recognition in the welfare system, which the self-employed pay into, for equal maternity pay and fairer treatment under Universal Credit.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “The UK’s army of 4.8 million self-employed are the backbone of this country and should be recognised for the value they add both to the economy and their local communities.

“Small businesses and the self-employed will be vital to a successful post-Brexit economy. Politicians seeking their votes should be on their side and against hitting them with extra costs.”

The manifesto is put forward by FSB on behalf of the UK’s small business community. It sets out more than 30 steps the next Government should take to secure a pro-business Brexit, create a level playing field, cut the cost of doing business and improve our working lives, including:

1)   Create small business export vouchers alongside export tax credits, to help small firms trade with new markets for the first time

2)   Guarantee the rights of EU citizens to stay and work, including those that arrive right up to the point of UK leaving

3)   Make the worst examples of supply chain bullying illegal – retrospective discounting, pay to stay clauses

4)   Commit to co-fund apprenticeships in non-levy-paying businesses in England for the next parliament

5)   Independent inquiry/Royal Commission to create new approach to business rates for 2022 based on ability to pay; to create a consensus and take politics out of the process

6)   Protect small firms on our high streets and in our communities from chains, by creating a small business version of the Asset of Community Value

Mike Cherry said: “Brexit is clearly going to feature heavily in the election campaign, and rightly so. But it must not dominate debate at the expense of other important domestic issues for small businesses. There are a series of decisions required by new Government Ministers in their first 100 days in office. From export support to tackling our late payments crisis, to co-funding apprenticeships and a new consensus on the future of business rates, to the survival of small businesses on our high streets and in our communities. Our manifesto sets out what small businesses want to see from all major parties and candidates standing on 8thJune. Millions of votes are at stake.”

The FSB Manifesto in full is as follows:

SECURE A PRO-BUSINESS BREXIT – TRADE, TALENT, TRANSITION

1)   Create small business export vouchers alongside export tax credits, to help small firms trade with new markets for the first time

2)   Negotiate a small business chapter in every UK Free Trade Agreement

3)   Guarantee the rights of EU citizens to stay and work, including those that arrive right up to the point of UK leaving

4)   Devise a post-Brexit employer-responsive immigration system, without onerous paperwork or high visa charges, that includes visa-free short-term business travel

5)   A new Growth Fund for England to bring together current domestic/EU funding streams (with devolved funds agreed in other nations)

6)   Move as much EU law as possible into UK law as the UK leaves the EU, to provide certainty; but also agree a rigorous framework to review and reduce the cumulative burden of regulation, post-Brexit

CREATE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

1)   Legislate to make the worst examples of supply chain bullying illegal – retrospective discounting, pay to stay clauses

2)   Regulators to focus on small business vulnerabilities in their sectors alongside consumers – e.g. financial services, telecoms and energy

3)   A new ‘Small Business Commitment’ for public procurement to help small firms finally win more contracts and cascade good payment terms

4)   Any energy bill caps to apply to micro-businesses as well as consumers

5)   Supply chain action plan for renewable/onshore oil and gas sectors and emerging technologies

6)   Increase investment in flood defences, and incentivise planning system to address environmental issues

IMPROVE WORKING LIVES

1)   Protect the self-employed from being singled-out for tax grabs, and help them access equal maternity pay – and fairer treatment under Universal Credit

2)   Include a private pension opt-in on tax self-assessments for the self-employed

3)   All young people to have access to independent, high-quality careers advice

4)   Commit to co-fund apprenticeships in non-levy-paying businesses in England for the next parliament

5)   Improve data collection for women-led firms, to help tailor business support, training and mentoring for women

6)   Include small business owners and self-employed in the growing mental health agenda – not just employees

DRIVE DOWN THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS

1)   Independent inquiry/Royal Commission to create new consensus approach to business rates for 2022 based on ability to pay

2)   Target and uprate the Employment Allowance for smaller firms from £3,000 to £4,000 to help with rising National Living Wage and labour costs

3)   Exempt or postpone mandatory quarterly tax reporting for small firms below the £85k VAT threshold

4)   Freeze fuel duty and Insurance Premium Tax at the June Budget

5)   A Minister in every Department to be made accountable for poor Regulatory Impact Assessments and push de-regulation

6)   Promote and simplify R+D tax credits and the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) which suffer from low awareness and take-up

BUILD OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERY AREA ACROSS THE UK

1)   Protect small firms on our high streets and in our communities from chains, by creating a small business version of the Asset of Community Value

2)   Deliver promised investment in local infrastructure, especially local roads which continue to deteriorate

3)   Improve transparency and governance of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), and base their growth strategies on new proper LEP-level business data

4)   Deliver an ambitious USO for Broadband, across the UK and address ‘not-spots’ for mobile phone and data

5)   Post Office to provide a full consistent ‘small business service’ standard for banking as bank branches continue to close

6)   Remove separate business rates bills for ATMs,

 

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