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05 May 2017

FSB urges all parties to back the 4.8 million UK self-employed

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is warning political parties against standing in the way of the UK’s millions of self-employed strivers with post-election tax hikes, including National Insurance.

In its small business election manifesto, ‘Small Business, Big Ambition,’ FSB calls on parties wanting to form the next Government, and candidates standing for Parliament, to make a positive commitment not to single-out the self-employed for tax rises. There should also be greater recognition in the welfare system, which the self-employed pay into, for equal maternity pay and fairer treatment under Universal Credit.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “The UK’s army of 4.8 million self-employed are the backbone of this country and should be recognised for the value they add both to the economy and their local communities.

“Small businesses and the self-employed will be vital to a successful post-Brexit economy. Politicians seeking their votes should be on their side and against hitting them with extra costs.”

The manifesto is put forward by FSB on behalf of the UK’s small business community. It sets out more than 30 steps the next Government should take to secure a pro-business Brexit, create a level playing field, cut the cost of doing business and improve our working lives, including:

1)   Create small business export vouchers alongside export tax credits, to help small firms trade with new markets for the first time

2)   Guarantee the rights of EU citizens to stay and work, including those that arrive right up to the point of UK leaving

3)   Make the worst examples of supply chain bullying illegal - retrospective discounting, pay to stay clauses

4)   Commit to co-fund apprenticeships in non-levy-paying businesses in England for the next parliament

5)   Independent inquiry/Royal Commission to create new approach to business rates for 2022 based on ability to pay; to create a consensus and take politics out of the process

6)   Protect small firms on our high streets and in our communities from chains, by creating a small business version of the Asset of Community Value

Mike Cherry said: “Brexit is clearly going to feature heavily in the election campaign, and rightly so. But it must not dominate debate at the expense of other important domestic issues for small businesses. There are a series of decisions required by new Government Ministers in their first 100 days in office. From export support to tackling our late payments crisis, to co-funding apprenticeships and a new consensus on the future of business rates, to the survival of small businesses on our high streets and in our communities. Our manifesto sets out what small businesses want to see from all major parties and candidates standing on 8th June. Millions of votes are at stake.”