The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has announced the six key messages it proposes to hammer home to the government in 2006. The proposals aim to make it easier for small businesses to thrive and employ more people.
Getting the voice of small businesses heard
Small businesses are the engine of job creation and the generators of new ideas and business innovation. The FSB is urging the Government in 2006 to value the contribution small businesses make by ensuring adequate small business representation on decision-making bodies and delivering a business environment in which they can thrive.
The government made much of cutting red tape and regulation on small businesses in 2005 and a great deal of work has gone into looking at the administrative burdens on small businesses. In practice, however, very little has happened. 2006 must be the year to deliver real cuts in red tape. We've had the promises, now it's time for the delivery.
Cutting business crime
The FSB's Barriers survey shows that 58.5% of all small businesses have been the victim of crime. The FSB is calling on the Home Office to deliver a key performance indicator for business crime so that police forces give the same priority to crime against business as they do for domestic crime. The Government must also consult fully on the proposed Police Service reform, which should not come at the expense of plans for neighbourhood policing.
The FSB acknowledges the need to tackle the pensions' shortfall and welcomes debate on the issue. But the Government should not be tempted to shackle small businesses with compulsory employer contributions when it delivers its response to the Turner report in 2006. Instead, the FSB believes automatic enrolment in existing and new pension schemes should be tried first, as should all other options.
Sharing Olympic success
The FSB was delighted when London won the race to host the 2012 Olympics. The event will be a boost to businesses not just in the London region, but all over the UK. The FSB is urging the Olympic Delivery Authority to deliver for small businesses and ensure that they get a fair chance to apply for procurement contracts in the run-up to 2012.
Late payment and early payment
The FSB will publish Private Sector Payment Performance League Tables in January 2006, which will name and shame big businesses that fail to settle their invoices and pay small business suppliers in good time. At the same time, the Government should deliver on its promise to speed up cheque clearance times.
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