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27 December 2016

FSB National Chairman’s New Year Message

Our prosperity in 2017 will be founded on the success of the UK’s smaller business movement

Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman’s New Year message: 

In the UK, running a small business and being your own boss is one of the most challenging and satisfying things you can choose to do. We now have a record 5.5 million smaller businesses and the self-employed, but the rate of growth has started to slow. Our country’s prosperity in 2017 will be founded on the success of the smaller business movement. In turn, that success rests upon all of us truly creating a new entrepreneurial culture. This means the whole of society - Government and business, customers and employees, public and private sectors – all choosing to support smaller businesses and the self-employed. Politicians need to pursue policies that make it not just easier to set up a business, but also to run it, putting small businesses at the very heart of policymaking. Teachers need to include running a smaller business as a viable option within careers advice. Customers need to decide whether to spend their money with innovative local businesses or distant multinational brands.

As we look to 2017, this will only become more important. Our 5.5 million entrepreneurs are the engine of the UK economy, employing 60 per cent of the private sector workforce. But there are clouds on the horizon that must be addressed.

Our quarterly Small Business Index constantly tracks confidence levels, and provides a regular health-check for the UK economy. Throughout 2016, confidence glided down before dipping into negative territory in the third quarter for the first time since 2012. Smaller businesses have been struggling, and it makes everyone’s words and deeds important as we head into 2017 – where we hope for recovery.

The UK’s decision to the leave the European Union and the resulting change of government in 2016 did create a huge amount of uncertainty, but new Ministers from the Prime Minister down have been listening to our concerns and suggestions, as has the Opposition. Brexit will bring risks and opportunities for our members, and the strategy adopted in the upcoming negotiations must manage down those risks, and accelerate the opportunities it provides. FSB’s research and policy programme will conclude in the coming months to inform that process.

Read the full message here

See how FSB have campaigned on this issue