The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has celebrated reaching 200,000 members - a figure larger than the BCC, CBI, and IoD combined. It is an organisation of some considerable significance and feels it should not be ignored by Government.
The FSB membership is at a similar level to the leading political parties, with Labour having slightly fewer members than the FSB and the Conservatives alone having more members. The FSB also directly represents 2.5m employees, nearly twice as many as the UK's largest trade union, Unison.
The Federation's National Chairman is therefore calling on the Government and other politicians to give due consideration to such a large voice in policy making, weighing it against the demands of smaller interest groups.
The FSB also pointed out that between 2000 and 2004 large firms shed 1.5 million jobs. In the same period small businesses created 2 million new jobs. Therefore, to safeguard the future prospects of the UK economy, the interests of small businesses must rise up the political agenda. Even more jobs could then be created.
Carol Undy, FSB National Chairman, said, "At a time when the Government is aiming for sustained economic growth and larger firms are relocating overseas, small businesses keep delivering the goods for British workers and the economy. We expect policy makers to treat our views with the respect that they deserve given the weight of such a large membership behind it.
"The growth of the FSB during the recent past is a truly great achievement. No other organisation can credibly claim to speak authoritatively on behalf of UK small businesses.
"Let there be no doubt that together small businesses are big news, making up over 99% of all UK businesses. Small firms in total employ 12 million workers, which is more than half of the private sector workforce, contributing over 50% of UK GDP and 60% of all commercial innovations.”
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