Posted: Thu 2nd Jun 2016
The government should better support traditional, non tech and low risk small businesses, a new report has recommended.
An inquiry by All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group (APPSSG) complained that policymakers don't value the social impact of 'everyday entrepreneurs' such as booksellers, grocers and hairdressers and have released a report into how they can be better supported.
"The government and media narrative surrounding entrepreneurs is often focused on glamorous high tech, high risk start-up companies, but this isn't what makes our local economies and communities tick," the study said. "It is the everyday entrepreneurs that are the backbone of the UK economy, those business people who serve their local communities day in and day out.
"It's the pint of milk from the local shop, the haircut from the local barbers and the coffee from the local cafÃ©. Individually these local business entrepreneurs are small but their collective contribution to the economy and local communities consistently maintains significance."
As part of a series of recommendations, the MPs called on the government to introduce a new 'entrepreneurs test' to encompass all impact assessments for business regulation and consider the following questions:
Does this regulation create barriers to market entry for new entrepreneurs?
How has the impact on entrepreneurs been considered during the policy making process?
What provisions have been made to help entrepreneurs understand and navigate the new regulation?
The group also said local authorities should be encouraged to use their business rates powers to incentivise investment and reward responsible business. Despite local councils being able to deliver discretionary rate relief to any local business 50% funded by central government, data shows that only 39 out of 326 local authorities have used these powers.
Other recommendations included establish a new mentorship scheme between successful businesses and schools, improved financial education for children and better engagement of small businesses by growth hubs and local enterprise partnerships to ensure they better engage with their local communities.
The study cited a recent report by TSB which found that one in 10 people said "their local postie or shopkeeper was the beating heart of their local community and whenever they spoke to them, it made them feel 'at home'."
APPSSG chair Simon Danczuk MP said: "We want to ensure policy-makers are mindful of the challenges faced by these businesses and can put in place measures that effectively support entrepreneurs in the future. We hope ministers, their officials and parliamentary colleagues will take note of the inquiry's findings and keep the interests of everyday entrepreneurs in their minds when making policy decisions."
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman added: "Small business owners are subject to a large number of regulations which impose both financial and operational burdens on them and distract them from growing their business. The outcome of this Inquiry highlights the importance of removing red tape for small businesses, whilst also encouraging Government to incentivise businesses that play a crucial role in their communities."