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British Rubber & Polyurethane Products Association

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Small business do have great ambition

Posted on 11 December 2013

Commenting on the Government's long-term economic plan and its commitment to support small businesses through the Small Business: GREAT ambition launched today, John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"Small Business Saturday has the potential to increase awareness among households across the country about the great businesses in their areas, but supporting small firms must go further than one day a year. As the Chancellor set out in the Autumn Statement, the private sector has stepped up to the challenge to create jobs and boost economic recovery. With 54 per cent of our members saying they want to grow in the next 12 months today's announcements will help them achieve their ambitions through access to faster broadband, improved cash-flow through tackling late payments and fairer energy deals, while giving more opportunity to win public sector contracts."

Commenting on the specific announcements, John Allan continued:

Broadband vouchers:
"More small firms must exploit the use of faster broadband if they are to expand their businesses, but there are also thousands of firms around the UK who struggle to even get a broadband signal and the Government must not forget this. Broadband vouchers should help those in the 22 cities, however the FSB still wants to see a greater push for universal connectivity to help those firms in rural areas that won't benefit from the scheme."

A fair deal on energy:
"The efforts of Government in limiting back-billing and ending roll over energy contracts are a significant triumph for small firms. Energy is the main cause of rising business costs for our members and frustratingly for small firms they have to go through an arduous annual process of contacting energy suppliers in order to get a good deal on their bills. Increasing transparency of contract terms should ease this burden and make it harder for the energy companies to use businesses as a cash cow."

Tackling late payment of small firms:
"The smallest firms don't have the same cash-flow buffers as their larger counterparts and being paid on time can be the difference between being able to pay their staff and their own bills. We have long said that Government needs to ensure its Tier 1 suppliers pass the quick payment terms they receive down the supply chain so the commitment to pay small firms at the same time as big contractors is significant."

Access to £230 billion of public sector contracts:
"Opening up £230 billion of public sector contracts to small firms could see up to £144.9 billion retained in local economies as FSB research shows for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business (SME) 63p was re-spent in the local area compared to 40p in every £1 spent with a larger business. Spending locally invests in jobs and growth for the area. We want to see more of this happening across the country. Engagement with small firms is essential. While our members do win contracts, many are still deterred by the process."