PM is right small businesses are central to growth - now it's time to match those words with actions

Press Releases 4 Oct 2023

FSB responds to the Prime Minister's speech

Reacting to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Martin McTague, said:

“It was heartening to hear the Prime Minister's personal commitment to becoming the party of small business, and his unequivocal recognition that small businesses drive our economy. Small firms will now want to see this applied across the policy agenda for the Autumn Statement and into the next general election.

“The UK’s 5.5 million small business owners are not only at the heart of the economy and communities – they are a huge electoral force, in every single constituency, as we have been highlighting at this week’s party conference.

“Announcements on the next step in the road to tackle late payments and to take a fresh look at regulation are welcome. In particular, we want to make sure the Government sticks to its pledge to regulate as a last resort, not a first one.

“But at a time when the small business tax burden is the highest since the late 1940s, this needs to change to enable growth and the creation of jobs.  

“Full expensing tax relief, until now the Government's primary business tax cut, is expensive and targeted at big corporates. Instead, we want to see help targeted at small businesses, such as by extending the 75% business rates relief for small firms in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, or increasing the VAT threshold to £100,000.

“Major multi-year, multi-Government projects such as the Net Zero transition or HS2 require a long-term, cross-party, multi-government approach, much like when the UK hosted the Olympic Games in 2012. This is the only way to cope with the UK's four- or five-year electoral cycle, or at times when the Government changes more quickly.  

“Improving east-west links across the North of England and the Midlands is absolutely vital, but so is connecting them into the national network, as would have happened by connecting Northern Powerhouse rail to HS2.

“The new or improved projects need to be assessed for benefits on capacity and connectivity for both passengers and freight, to set them against what has been lost from HS2 today. Ultimately, the responsibility is now on the Government to prove that these new decisions will deliver value for money for taxpayers and make life easier for small business.”

Media contact

Jo Tacon

Jo Tacon

Media & Communications Officer

[email protected]
07595 284292

About FSB

As the UK’s largest business support group, FSB is the voice of the UK’s small businesses and the self-employed. Established over 40 years ago to help its members succeed in business, FSB is a non-profit making and non-party political organisation that’s led by its members, for its members. As the UK’s leading business campaigner, FSB is focused on delivering change which supports smaller businesses to grow and succeed.

FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including access to finance, business banking, legal advice and support along with a powerful voice in Government. Each year FSB also runs the UK’s Celebrating Small Business Awards. More information is available at You can follow us on twitter @fsb_policy and on Instagram @fsb_uk.