Email from FSB following extraordinary Budget
Email sent out on behalf of Mike Cherry, National Chairman
Yesterday was a fantastic day for FSB and I wanted to thank you personally for your part in this success.
As I’m sure you’ve seen from news reports, we had an extraordinary Budget presented by the new Chancellor to the House of Commons. Most of our main asks were adopted, but in some instances the UK Government went even further.
This was a Budget where our message was clear – small businesses wanted help with their cashflow. A ‘Pro-Small Business Budget’ would be one that did two things – 1) it would help small firms and the self-employed to prepare for, and cope with COVID-19; and 2) it would delivered on the raft of pledges made to FSB at the UK General Election in December.
You will no doubt remember our own FSB manifesto, Back To Business, published at https://www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/back-to-business.html – and the campaign we wrapped around it as we spoke to parliamentary candidates in all 650 constituencies. Many of those measures are now official Government policy, and as of yesterday have been allocated Government funding.
Yesterday’s success is down to the brilliant activity of FSB volunteers, Westminster office staff and field staff. As a result of all our efforts:
- The Government will expand the Employment Allowance next month by 1/3 to £4,000 – this helps to reduce Labour costs for every small employer. This is half a billion pounds, for half a million small businesses.
- The Government will bring in a large package of funding, alongside the Bank of England, that will see help for small businesses and the self-employed to face COVID-19/coronavirus. This includes hardship funds, backing for lending, funding for statutory sick pay, and help for the self-employed through the benefits system. The door was clearly also open for more help for small business, if and when we need it.
- The Government will reform small firms’ business rates in England, broadening the retail 33% discount to leisure and hospitality sectors up to £51,000 rateable value, and then increasing it dramatically – not only to 50% but to 100%. There is also a cash allowance of up to £3,000 for those who already get 100% Small Business Rates Relief, so they benefit too.
- The Government will keep Entrepreneurs’ Relief, against its instincts to abolish it – but will focus it on small business owners by reducing it to sales of £1m.
The icing on the cake was the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s reference to FSB. We were the only business group mentioned in the speech, demonstrating the importance this Government places on our organisation, above everyone else.
Of the four main wins above, three will help all businesses across the UK – in every nation, region and local area. On the business rates, the Policy Units and our staff in the devolved nations are already influencing their own Governments in reaction to this extra help – and the answer appears already to be positive.
There were also many more positive announcements in the Budget. UK wins include a final year fuel duty freeze, and more money for start-up loans; a NICS holiday for businesses that employ veterans, and new loans for exports; and a commitment on maintaining access to cash. More England wins include commitments on broadband, potholes and flood defences, and again the devolved units and staff will be using these to press for help in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Yesterday’s wins for small businesses are the result of months and years of hard work and commitment, and as a volunteer you’ve played an important role in this success. Whether you’ve shared our social media posts, met with Ministers and MPs, conducted media interviews or worked hard to raise awareness of our campaign, you’ve contributed to these announcements for the UK’s 5.8m small businesses.
Please do share this news when you meet other members, who I hope feel proud to be involved. We’ve already had some wonderful comments from members including “You’ve really helped my business, and it shows the benefit of me joining as a member”!But also, please do talk about these wins with potential members, too, and signpost them to the local MA or member of staff. You can also of course refer them to www.fsb.org.uk
My thanks again to all of you for your part in this success and feel free to help us get this message out.
Mike Cherry OBE AIMMM FRSA