LCCI statement in response to Prime Minister’s small business reforms

In reaction to the Prime Minister’s speech on small business reforms, Karim Fatehi MBE, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said:

“The Prime Minister’s small business reforms contains several welcome announcements.

“We are pleased that the Government has recognised the importance of apprenticeships and is taking steps to make them more widely accessible, heeding our calls. The Apprenticeship Levy is an important tool for securing the UK’s skilled workforce, but for too long its shortcomings have gone unaddressed. We hope these reforms and much needed funding will help ease the burden on small businesses and unlock the potential of thousands of young people around the country and across the economy.

“To deliver maximum opportunity, these reforms must go further to increase flexibility of the Levy by extending the deadline for employers to spend Levy funds and allow the funding to be spent on pre-employment training.

“Furthermore, steps to remove onerous regulations facing small business owners, such as the threshold uplift on the requirement for financial reporting, should mean that more firms can spend their time focussing on growth and investment into infrastructure, stock and staff.

“We are especially pleased to see the launch of a new ‘Invest in Women Taskforce’. We have long highlighted how a lack of access to finance in the UK’s unequal business environment is inhibiting economic growth, and it is estimated that the UK economy could generate an additional £250bn if female entrepreneurs had the means and access to start new businesses at the same rate as men.

“While we welcome these reforms, a broader approach is needed to ensure that small businesses and entrepreneurs in London and around the country can thrive despite the difficult macro-economic operating conditions they face. Today’s announcement must be part of sustained efforts to break down barriers and tackle key issues – from high energy bills and lower spending in the economy to challenging interest rates for loans – if we are to realise this ‘year of the SME’ and keep a high-growth economy in reach.”