Our research shows 93 per cent of small businesses rate their car as crucial for business. Therefore roads are critical for businesses, who rely on them to access goods, customers and employees. More strategic planning to ease congestion across the road network, an increase in funding for local roads, and an integrated transport system in rural areas would enable small businesses across the UK to move and grow.
Small retailers are being impacted by issues that discourage shoppers from visiting traditional town centres and high streets, such as high parking charges, aggressive enforcement and a lack of available spaces in many areas.
The Government must deliver investment in a well-organised transport infrastructure, which includes ensuring rail services are reliable and operated efficiently. We welcome Northern Powerhouse initiatives such as HS3, a proposed strategic rail programme to connect the major cities in the North of England, and support HS2 being built as quickly as possible.
Airport capacity is also crucial to the UK economy. We need it for the UK to remain open for business and give a much needed boost to trade, investment and economic growth. We consulted our members about the choice to expand either Heathrow or Gatwick, and said we would back the recommendation of the Airports Commission. In July 2015 the Commission recommended expanding Heathrow.
Government should use the upcoming Budget and Spending Review to achieve a fairer distribution of government expenditure between major road network projects, and delivering improved local transport. The Government should increase the level of funding for local road maintenance, with better targeting and delivery of those funding commitments.
Local authorities should provide more free parking, including for limited time periods, in town centres. Parking charges, where necessary, should be limited and any increase in charges subject to proper consultation and assessed for their impact on high streets.
A fully functioning and fit for purpose rail network will help rebalance the economy. The quick delivery of HS3 will help the Northern Powerhouse to benefit from a strong regional economy that can compete with other regions of the UK.
Big decisions on national infrastructure need to be made swiftly, and therefore we call on politicians to deliver the airport expansion without further delay to avoid putting the long-term economic health of the UK at risk.
The Chancellor announces plans for HS3 and the Northern Powerhouse in the 2014 Autumn Statement.
In the 2017 Budget, £1.3 billion was targeted towards local road networks and reducing motorway pinch points.
In the Spring Budget of 2015, a £200 million fund for repairing potholes was announced by the Chancellor.
In the Emergency Budget of 2015, the Chancellor announced vehicle excise duty would be ring-fenced for future road projects.
Following our submission, the Commission’s report included recommendations to:
We’re pushing ScotRail to radically improve its service to business customers so they can ‘do business’ in a comfortable and connected environment.
Retail sales slump ramps up call for radical business rates manifesto pledges
AB13 and EH18 postcodes have no cash machines or Post Offices, according to Which?
Small firms sparkle at FSB dinner
Weekly Brief 45 - Friday 8 November