Small firms urge Chancellor to deliver on “whatever it takes” pledge as road map brings some clarity

Responding to this afternoon’s Prime Ministerial address in the House of Commons, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry said:

“This road map provides some much-needed clarity for small businesses in England, which have faced an incredibly tough year. The Government’s commitment to helping small firms and sole traders access testing and its recognition of the plight faced by suppliers are welcome.

“It’s important for this plan to protect against a fourth Covid wave and accompanying lockdown, the imposition of which would be devastating for the 250,000 firms that fear closure this year. Small businesses are clear that recovery depends on an accelerating vaccine programme, access to an improved testing infrastructure for firms of all sizes, the safe return of schools, and the right safety measures within businesses.

“The Chancellor must deliver on the Prime Minister’s “whatever it takes” pledge at next week’s Budget. On one side of the coin we have continued restrictions – on the other, we need corresponding business support.

“Whatever it takes means bringing those overlooked by current support measures into the fold, including suppliers, directors and the newly self-employed. Upwards of a million small business owners and sole traders are currently receiving no direct help whatsoever.

“Extension of business rates reliefs and measures to mitigate the burden of emergency debt will provide small firms with some urgently-needed breathing space as they fight to make it through to the summer.

“Fundamentally, the implementation of, and deadlines for, business support measures need to reflect this road map to avoid forcing the great businesses of tomorrow under before they’ve had a chance to realise their potential.”    

Ahead to tomorrow’s unemployment statistics, Mike Cherry added:

“Official employment statistics do not fully reveal the challenges currently faced in the jobs market. Small firms are having to make incredibly hard choices about staff numbers and are struggling to recruit.

“The Chancellor should take action next week: cutting employer national insurance contributions and reintroducing a job retention bonus.

“We also need to help those currently out of work who are thinking about launching a new businesses through funding for the New Enterprise Allowance and Start-Up Loans programme, along with a fresh Kickstart Start-Up initiative to help those who have been on furlough to be their own boss and launch a venture themselves.”   

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As experts in business, FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in Government. Its aim is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions. More information is available at You can follow us on twitter @fsb_policy.

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