Posted: Sun 1st Jan 2017
The Small Business Taskforce, a group of 14 organisations including Enterprise Nation that represent a total two million small businesses and self-employed individuals, has published a wish list we hope will strike a chord at the heart of government.
The group, which also includes ICAEW, Coadec, NEA and IPSE, came together post-Brexit out of a concern that the appetite to continue to support an entrepreneurial environment that suits smaller firms was disappearing in Whitehall.
Our uniting principle is that entrepreneurship and self-starters are good for the economy, that small British businesses should be encouraged and supported to thrive and that the government should back small enterprises.
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation and group spokesperson, said: "We know that government plays an important role in creating the right culture and environment for small businesses to flourish. There are 5.3m businesses in the UK and around 99% of them are SMEs. Acknowledging their important contribution and listening to their concerns will be critical in 2017."
Throughout 2017, we will work on a number of issues including tax, international trade, education and procurement.
We today publish a 10 point wish list to offer insight into the needs of smaller companies.
Introduction of Export Vouchers: Offering small companies financial and advisory support so they can play an increasing role in international trade, as well as stimulating an export culture in the smallest of firms
Extension of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS): EIS is due to end in 2025 without further legislative action. State aids are generally time limited. The equity/funding gap in the UK is longstanding, and is likely to be still with us in 2025 and beyond. We would like to see this reviewed and extended
Exemptions to HM Revenue & Customs' Making Tax Digital initiative: During the implementation period there should be no mandation until each part of HMRC's IT system and support function is in place and has been tested. An easement for the smallest of businesses should be introduced with a higher exemption limit than the turnover threshold of Â£10,000 in the published consultation document
Inclusion of SMEs in corporate supply chains: Building on Social Enterprise UK's Buy Social Corporate Challenge through which a group of high profile businesses aim to spend Â£1bn with social enterprises by 2020
Confirmation of long-term residence rights of EU citizens currently working in the UK and a commitment to a flexible labour market
Review of Universal Credit to assesses if this new welfare programme with its 'minimum income floor' will push self-employed people out of business before they have a chance to become viable
Review of pensions and retirement security for the self-employed and leveraging the recently launched review of auto-enrolment pensions to consider seriously whether there is potential for extending a form of assisted enrolment to the self-employed
Clarification on business support: A percentage of business support programmes have been underpinned by EU funds. We would like to see a review of funding available for this and proposed expenditure plans
Consultation with small business into making tax fairer and simpler for the self-employed, and to reflect the substantial contribution small businesses make to British economic prosperity in domestic policy and trade deals
A more positive portrayal of the role of small businesses and the self-employed from government officials
The Taskforce is committed to supporting the government in these points through offering immediate access to, and consultation with, small businesses and their advisers from across the UK.
The members of the Small Business Taskforce are: