Policy issues

The FSB lobbies on a number of issues concerning small businesses. Click on the links below to find out more about FSB policy briefs and how each area is responding to the economic downturn.

Business Support
The FSB wants government funded provision to support and improve business operations using the Information, Diagnostic & Brokerage (IDB) model. The brokerage should suggest the services that will support the needs of the business. This must include private sector provision.

The FSB wants a clear Home Office policy and comprehensive strategy to tackle crimes against business. The roll out of a national definition for crimes against business is key to ensuring that crimes against business are recorded in a uniform way across the country and that adequate resources are allocated to tackle the problem. Targets to tackle crimes against business should be included in every local policing plan across the country.

Education & Skills
Five Point Plan
The FSB has urged the Government to invest in apprenticeships as part of a blueprint for tackling rising unemployment and creating jobs.

Time to train

From April 2011 all employees in businesses with fewer than 250 people will have the 'Right to Request' time to train. Read the FSB's consultation response to this piece of legislation.

Small businesses need flexibility in order to grow and thrive. Rigid employment legislation can make it very difficult for small businesses to deliver potential benefits within the UK.

Environment & Energy
Small businesses are keen to go green but are not getting the help or incentives they need to do so. The FSB is calling on government, regulators and local authorities to provide more support.

European Union
As the UK's leading business organisation, the FSB is also the leading small business voice at the heart of the European Union - ensuring Britain's entrepreneurs are heard through our dedicated office in Brussels.

It is vital in this difficult credit and economic climate that the Government, banks and the public and private sector appreciates the importance of small businesses to the UK economy in terms of GDP and employment.

Health and Safety
The FSB has a 13 strong Health and Safety and Risk Management Committee which is made up of health and safety experts from across the field. The role of the committee is to steer the work of the policy unit as well as to provide specialist advice in the lobbying context.

The FSB has launched a new policy paper calling on the Government to hold a national conference to help better prepare for bad weather following weeks of snow. Read the report.

The FSB has created a checklist for small firms to use for contingency planning in events such as a flu pandemic, floods and extreme whether. Read the checklist

Local Government
The FSB's Local Government Policy Unit works to ensure small businesses can compete and grow locally and are treated fairly by local authorities and Government regarding rates, business taxes, planning and procurement.

In 2005 67 per cent of respondents to the FSB's report 'Inspector at the Door' claimed that there were moderately serious to serious costs involved in form-filling and providing information to regulators. This is clearly a serious issue for our members and we will continue to work closely with Government to lessen the impact regulation has on SMEs.

Rural Affairs
Rural businesses are suffering during the economic downturn like their urban counterparts. but the failure of a business in a small village can devastate a local community and urgent action is needed to give relief to these businesses at the heart of village life.

Tax is an issue that affects all small businesses. What small firms need above all is a simple and stable tax system.

The tax system needs to be:

. clear and specific;
. properly evaluated prior to implementation to avoid unintended consequences;
. easy for employers to comply with and to administer; and
. used to collect taxes, not administer benefits.

The FSB has welcomed the recent debate on taxation, but urges all political parties to put more emphasis on small business taxation in their policy proposals. It must be remembered that a significant minority of small businesses are unincorporated and the tax system must provide a level playing field between incorporated and unincorporated businesses.

FSB Budget Submission
The FSB is calling on the Government to completely freeze National Insurance Contribution (NICs) rises and reverse the planned increase to employers' NICs in 2011, reform the tax system and freeze the planned one per cent rise in corporation tax in 2011.

Trade and Industry
The FSB Trade and Industry Policy Unit represents small businesses in public procurement, postal issues, telecommunications and broadband, consumer rights, the pub industry and other issues.

Transport is of crucial importance for social and economic growth in the UK. Weak transport links are a major barrier to business growth and can have a dramatic impact on business competitiveness and productivity.

Transport, especially road transport, is fundamental to small businesses. Business owners rely on access to cost-effective and reliable transport for the daily running of their business - for access to their customer base, delivering goods or to enable employees to reach the workplace.

Road transport remains the most important mode of transport for small businesses. In many cases there is simply no alternative for businesses than to use their own transport, either because of lack of public transport or for strictly practical reasons, such as carrying tools and equipment.