Whatever you think about the new government, a parliamentary majority represents an opportunity to bring in policies and legislation that can make a difference to UK businesses. Prominent business figures and representative bodies are now calling on the government to act swiftly to help SMEs thrive.
Cutting red tape
A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found respondents’ top priorities were cutting the regulatory burden on SMEs (53%), and simplifying the tax system (51%).
The Conservative Party’s pre-election manifesto explicitly set out a rule that will require all government departments to justify new regulations with a double cost saving. With continued pressure, this could potentially be pushed to the top of the government agenda – and rightly so.
Improving access to finance
Better access to finance was cited as a priority by 28% of FSB respondents; a priority we feel falls too far down the list, considering the continued precarious state of the economic recovery.
Industry experts have echoed these concerns: InvestUP managing director James Tuckett suggests that the British Business Bank be given a wider remit and crowdfunding given an increased role. In particular, he argues, the P2P ISA (also known as the crowdISA) must be introduced promptly and effectively. The latter is significant because it means the public will receive protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme: a massive incentive to stick with peer-to-peer lending if the Bank of England increases interest rates.
Tackling late payment practices
33% of businesses said late payment practices must be addressed, and we couldn’t agree more. The Small Business, Employment & Enterprise Act will soon require companies with over 250 employees to disclose payment practices twice a year, but we, and many SMEs, believe more can and should be done.
The promised Small Business Conciliation Service can go some way towards highlighting and resolving disputes, but with so few clear promises about the new body made in the manifesto, it must be demanded promptly or it risks being left behind.
Other issues in the FSB survey’s top ten are improving the employability of young people (44%), better mobile/broadband connectivity (39%), sustaining the economic recovery (35%), helping SMEs create jobs (34%), cutting energy costs (30%) and investment in infrastructure (26%).
If you’re struggling with late payments, Dukes Bailiffs can help. Contact an advisor today to find out how.