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23 November 2017

How you can help the voice of small business be heard

By Martin McTague, FSB Policy Director

You may remember – if you cast your mind back – that almost a decade ago the Electoral Commission ran an ad campaign to encourage more people to get out and vote. In it one character says he doesn’t “do politics” but it quickly becomes clear that politics affects all of us – from the state of our roads, to the speed of our broadband, high street parking charges etc.

The punchline of the ad was “If you don’t do politics, there’s not much you do do” and although politics has moved on a lot since this ad was first broadcast the principle is the same.

The reason I joined FSB more than 15 years ago was because I really care about small businesses and the environment they operate in.

Since I joined I have been Chairman of the Local Government Policy Unit and National Policy Vice Chairman.

In my current role as National Policy Director I meet with the most senior politicians and see the huge impact our lobbying can have. It is because of our members right across the country telling us what is affecting them that we have our finger on the pulse and know what’s impacting on businesses in different regions. That’s why FSB’s Regional Policy Representatives as well as Policy Representatives in the devolved nations play such a key role – they are the key link between our grassroots telling us what is happening locally so it can feed into our national policy activity.

So if you are interested in what’s affecting business in your area why not have your say? You can nominate yourself to be considered for a Regional Policy Representative or member of a Devolved Policy Unit and have a real impact on - not just your own business - but all small businesses.

I’m proud of the fact that because of FSB’s campaigning, nearly 1 million businesses in England now pay nothing or a reduced business rates bill. This has saved small businesses £6.7bn. In addition, an extra £435m has been secured to help those businesses most severely affected by rates rises that came about as a result of the recent revaluation.

FSB also successfully lobbied Government to withdraw its proposed £2 billion tax hike on the self-employed’s Class 4 National Insurance Contributions.

And following a long campaign by FSB, the UK’s first ever Small Business Commissioner, Paul Uppal, was appointed in October 2017. The aim is that the Commissioner will stamp-out supply-chain bullying by big business and take the lead on tackling all late payment practices.

FSB also convinced Government to introduce new rules to make large firms publish their payment terms with smaller suppliers.

None of this would be possible without the invaluable support of our volunteers right across the country. So if you’re as passionate about small businesses as I am, and want to ensure they have the support they need to thrive, we’d love to hear from you.  Why don’t you consider volunteering for FSB as a regional policy representative?  You could help bring about real change helping - not just you and your own business - but also the whole small business community. 

Regional (England) Policy Representative Role Description and self- nomination form

National (Northern Ireland) Policy Representative Role Description and self- nomination form

National (Wales) Policy Representative Role Description and self- nomination form