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Next Government must focus on SMEs, says Forum

The Forum of Private Business is calling on the next Government to protect the interests of small businesses as it launches its own Manifesto for Small Business.

The FPB wants the next Government, regardless of the outcome of the election, to tackle the ongoing problems facing the UK economy to create what it calls "an emboldened private sector" to drive the economy forward.

It says that policy-makers can do this in four ways, by supporting better finance for business, cutting the cost of compliance, reducing the cost of doing business and by introducing measures to support sustainable business growth.

Phil Orford, FPB chief executive, said: "Our manifesto drafted in partnership with our members, offers clear, practical and realistic policies than can make a real difference to small and medium-sized businesses. We will be campaigning to make sure they happen regardless of who is sat around the Cabinet table in May."

The manifesto includes the following recommendations for the short-term:

Amendments to 'grossly unfair' elements of latest EU Directive on late payments;Removal of the Health and Safety Executive's Fee for Intervention policy;A freeze on business rates in the first year and cap at 2% for the remainder of the Parliament;Make Small Business Rate Relief permanent and automatic;Removal of the VAT charged on fuel duty contribution to pump price.

The Forum has also highlighted the importance of establishing a regulator and code of conduct to oversee the relationship between suppliers and retailers. In the longer term, the Forum is calling for the establishment of an advisory board for the Prompt Payment Code.

Orford said: "The three largest Westminster parties have all positioned themselves as small business champions. It is encouraging to see that the role played by SMEs is recognised, and the across-the-board commitment to crucial policies such as investment in rural broadband, support for apprenticeships and the review of business rates.

"Small businesses will continue to be the engine room of growth and through providing the right mix of freedom, intervention and support, we can build on the recovery and ensure sustainable growth for the UK economy."

Source: The Law Donut

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