Small business is big business


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The Independent Online

The FSB is the UK's largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of more than 200,000 self-employed individuals and owners of small firms.

We offer a range of member benefits including free legal advice 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, and free financial and insurance health checks that can save businesses thousands of pounds per year.

Currently we are championing the UK's Entrepreneurs through our Real Life Entrepreneurs campaign by giving practical support through benefits and by ensuring that entrepreneurs are viewed as job, wealth and growth creators of the future in the corridors of power across the UK. 

One of the aims of the campaign is to tell government that they need to help small firms take on staff to drive employment. Recent FSB data shows that a balance of six per cent more businesses think that they will lay people off in the coming three months, pointing to a further increase in unemployment by the end of the year. 

The FSB has long called for the current National Insurance Contributions (NICs) holiday to be extended to existing businesses across the UK that have fewer than four employees and that employ up to three more staff. The current NICs holiday is only open to new start ups (and businesses outside London, East and the South East of England) and has not had the take-up that the Government expected, with only 7,000 businesses using it. By extending it, the Government has the opportunity to put more people in a job which in turn would boost the tax base and money to the treasury. 

The people who have taken a leap and started up on their own will be the ones who employ people and with more than 2.5 million people out of work, this is more important than ever. But, the recent FSB ‘Voice of Small Business’ Index, which measures business confidence, showed that small firms were feeling less confident about their prospects in the third quarter than at the start of the year.

We are also calling for decision makers to listen to the FSB by:

  • Increasing the routes to finance by creating more competition in the banking sector. 
  • Adopting a new approach to regulation and cut down the amount of red tape small firms have to plough through.
  • Improving cash-flow by ensuring that small business are paid on time.
  • Creating a simplified tax system for small businesses that find it complex and burdensome. 
  • Opening up export markets so that small businesses can really begin to grow the economy.                                                     

We are delighted to work in partnership with Fresh Business Thinking, as they support the aims of the FSB and our campaign. To find out more, visit

John Walker is the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.