“Everyday economy” should have “everyday entrepreneurs” at heart, say small firms, as Shadow Chancellor sets out agenda

Responding to the Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves’ Conference Speech, as new Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) research indicates that 200,000 small firms would be removed from the business rates system if its reforms to business rates were taking forward by Labour as pledged, FSB National Chair Mike Cherry said:

“A successful everyday economy needs successful everyday entrepreneurs – start-ups, micro businesses and sole traders taking forward new ideas as the commercial landscape changes.

“Currently, our business owners are up against it like never before. From spiralling costs, to trade disruption, to a worsening late payment culture, to chronic skills shortages, to emergency debt repayments, our everyday entrepreneurs are in urgent need of help.  

“A lot of small firms will cheer the pro-business policies set out in this speech as they fear a hike in the anti-growth jobs tax in April.

“Removing another 200,000 small businesses from business rates altogether would mark the first major step towards fundamental reform of a pernicious tax. Our research shows that the English regions that will most benefit from this reform would be the major political and levelling up battlegrounds of the North-East, North-West, Yorkshire and South-West of England.

“Key to the success of a new Office for Value for Money will be bringing more smaller firms into local and national government supply chains. As things stand, too many are locked out by bureaucratic processes and approaches to contract terms that favour big corporates. More diversity in supply chains, and use of Project Bank Accounts to avoid another Carillion, would mean higher performance and better return on taxpayer money.

“Equally, greening the economy and meeting our net zero targets will only be possible if our 5.9 million small businesses are empowered to make incremental gains. The billions pledged today would have to reach those who can really make a difference.  

“It’s now up to the Government to respond in kind, setting out the measures it will implement in the forthcoming Budget and Spending Review to get our beleaguered everyday entrepreneurs firing on all cylinders again.”