New research by the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) has revealed that domestic issues such as supporting the rights of the self-employed are just as important to small businesses as Brexit.

Small Business Election ConcernsFederation of Small Businesses

The research, which was based on the findings of a survey of 2,509 FSB members, showed that for 76%, their biggest election concern was not Brexit but a different issue.

  • 46 % chose improving support for the self-employed was a key concern – giving them access to social security and pensions and helping them access financial products such as mortgages.
  • 38 % prioritised investment in infrastructure
  • 37% said investment in skills was their priority

61 per cent did, however, include a good Brexit deal among their priorities, while the FSB’s most recent Small Business Index found that 64.5 % of small businesses had seen a rise in operating costs in the last quarter – the highest since Q2 2013.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “Those seeking to form the next government must show their commitment to supporting the UK’s army of 4.8 million self-employed – a hugely motivated group of strivers, and indeed voters, who will be crucial to the success of the UK economy over the next few years.

“Small firms across the board have seen the costs of doing business going up and up in recent years. The next government must help small businesses to thrive and avoid throwing more barriers – both financial and regulatory – in their way.”

FSB’s Election Manifesto 2017

In response to their findings, the FSB’s Election Manifesto 2017 recommends that the next government should prioritise:

  • protecting the self-employed from being singled-out for tax rises such as higher National Insurance
  • helping the self-employed access equal maternity pay and fairer treatment under Universal Credit.
  • new measures to curb big businesses’ supply-chain bullying of their small business suppliers
  • new protections for small businesses in their community
  • reforms to business rates, energy bills, R&D tax credits and public procurement.
  • a freeze on Fuel Duty and Insurance Premium Tax in the next Budget.

Mike Cherry added: “Clearly Brexit is the backdrop to this election, and small businesses want to see easy-to-use trade deals, continued access to the skills and workforce that they need and a replacement for EU funding and investment streams. But it is clear from today’s member survey that there are plenty of domestic issues which will also be crucial in ensuring the success of small businesses over the course of the next parliament.”