Julia Irvine 19 May 2017 04:36pm

Small Business Taskforce launches manifesto for SMEs

Small businesses are best placed to build an economy that works for everyone around the UK, says the Small Business Taskforce, but they cannot do it without the support of the incoming government

In its manifesto for small business, launched at the general election small business debate last night, the SME taskforce – which comprises 14 organisations, including ICAEW, Enterprise Nation, the RSA and the Entrepreneurs Network, and represents over two million small businesses – has come up with six key recommendations “to build a positive and progressive business case for Britain”.

A government that adopted the recommendations, the taskforce said, would deliver a more productive economy and a fairer society. The recommendations are not expensive to implement but would provide “better value for money, better policy decisions, and better support for small business”.

ICAEW’s head of enterprise, Clive Lewis, added, “Whatever the outcome on 8 June, the incoming government must provide a solid platform for small businesses to flourish and grow.

“Currently businesses are cautious about the future and are holding back on investment, therefore it’s vital that, in the run up to the general election, all political parties spell out how they plan to encourage businesses to invest in long-term growth.”

To achieve the aims of the manifesto, the incoming government would need to recognise the positive and powerful role small businesses play in the UK and appoint a small business minister to champion their interests.

It must provide a taxation system that encourages business investment and growth through stability, is simple to understand and administer and puts the needs of business first when it comes to making tax digital.

The business support it provides must be collaborative and add value. Suggestions include championing public/private partnerships in business support, launching a system of export vouchers, reinstatement of the Spaces for Growth programme, and establishing a single site for all engagement between government and SMEs.

The taskforce also wants the government to provide a pensions and benefits system that supports when needed, procurement opportunities which work for all, and last but by no means least, a workforce that equipped for enterprise.