The General Election called for on 8 June 2017 was a huge opportunity for FSB to run our own campaign to get wins for our members.
The centrepiece of this work was the FSB’s business manifesto – Small Business, Big Ambition. The first audience for this was primarily the political parties, and we published early so that we could maximise the opportunity to get some of our asks into their own party manifestos. FSB launched it by joining forces with the Sun, who brought their White Van Man (who helped us halt the big tax hike on the self-employed) and drove it directly to Downing Street and Parliament. There was no better way to deliver what our members want to the corridors of power!
The second audience was candidates standing in the election itself – more than 3,000 people standing in 650 constituencies. Locally, FSB shared the manifesto with candidates as they were hurriedly selected. Guidance was drafted and sent to the field staff network to make sure that FSB fiercely protected our independence throughout the campaign.
From 15 May, FSB’s ‘pre-election period’ began. 10 local election events were held by FSB around the UK – while there were plans for 20, these were affected by the terrorist incidents in Manchester and London. There was a UK Small Business Debate held on 24 May, held in partnership between FSB and the Association of Convenience Stores, where party spokespeople were grilled by our members and competed for our votes. Throughout our campaign, we encouraged all of our members (and their staff) to get out to vote on 8 June.
Throughout the General Election campaign, the voice of FSB members was crucial. The manifesto was a great centrepiece, based on members’ views and in-depth policy and survey work. We ran an election survey to get a refreshed view of what the next Government should focus on, and we got a strong response from our members which meant the more powerful our reach. All of our work is impactful because it represents the view of thousands of our members.
To many people, the election result was a surprise, but FSB was perfectly placed to make the most of whatever happened. Many of our requests made it into manifestos from all different political parties standing, and since the election we have seen progress to deliver emergency business rates; a commitment not to revisit tax rises on the self-employed; and a stay on mandatory tax reporting plans for the smallest businesses. All these are due in part to our manifesto and cross-party campaign. Looking to the future, while the governing party does not have a majority in the House of Commons, we believe that we have a majority of MPs that support FSB’s calls to action. We are small business, and we have a big ambition.
Click to see our press release and the Top 30 asks in FSB’s manifesto.
Any questions, contact our Westminster team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org