The Government’s spending review must stimulate investment in small firms to strengthen the economic environment, leading to the creation of jobs and growth, says the Federation of Small Businesses in its submission to the chancellor.
At the heart of the FSB’s submission is a call for reform of the enterprise support landscape. Recent research by the federation suggests there are more than 800 grant schemes available for small firms at the local level, with no less than 18 national schemes. While government business support is important, the FSB believes the business bank is an opportunity to simplify support and focus efforts on delivery so that good policy intentions have a real impact on the ground.
Furthermore, the FSB has asked the chancellor to set out how the business bank will be financed in the long term. In its submission, the organisation suggests that the business bank must be independent from the government with its own source of funding.
The FSB has long said that the banking sector needs more competition and believes the business bank is fundamental to making this happen. With recent data from the Bank of England showing the main high street banks have reduced lending to small firms, it is imperative that the business bank gets this right, first time.
In addition, the FSB wants to see spending retained in key areas such as skills, exports, broadband and transport to support businesses and improve the UK’s economic outlook. This would provide a long-term commitment to recent policy developments and give small firms greater opportunities to grow.
John Allan, National Chairman, FSB, says the recent economic picture is more positive than we have seen in a while: “Our own data shows that confidence is building and is at its highest level since the start of 2011. The chancellor must use the spending review to build upon this by setting out a long-term vision for ongoing investment in key areas such as skills, exports and broadband as well as the business bank.”