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Business rates pledge promises to breathe new life into small retailers

Business rates pledge promises to breathe new life into small retailers   

Responding to today’s Queen’s Speech, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry said:

“We’ve fought hard to secure an extension of the business rates retail discount. Today, we’ve seen the first step towards that extension being enshrined in law.

“Our small high street businesses are faced with a hugely challenging environment – confidence among small retailers has tumbled to new depths this year. This reduction in the £25 billion business rates burden promises to help breathe new life into our small shops, restaurants and cinemas.

“It’s vital that this Queen’s Speech is now followed-up with a business-friendly Budget in the new year, one that encompasses the fundamental review of the regressive rates system promised today.    

“Employment costs have spiralled over the last 12 months, with increasing numbers of businesses citing them as a barrier to growth. It’s critical that the government delivers on its commitment to increase the employment allowance for small firms.   

“Small businesses are looking to this new administration to inject some stability and certainty into the Brexit process. Swiftly agreeing a future trading relationship with the EU – and countries beyond the bloc – should help to reinject some confidence into the small business community. All future UK trade agreements must include a small business chapter.

“On immigration, it’s important that this new government remembers that many small businesses rely on low and mid-skilled employees who have come here from outside the UK. More than nine in ten small firms have no experience of using a model akin to that which is now being proposed.

“We look forward to providing evidence and insight on the distinct needs of small employers to policymakers to ensure that our new immigration system protects access to the skills small firms need. It’s also important to ensure entrepreneurs from all over the world are able to set-up shop in the UK, create jobs and push our economy forward.    

“This government’s commitment to bolstering broadband investment is hugely welcome. As business owners, we can’t run before we can walk. We need the fundamentals – not least decent connectivity – in place before we can achieve our full potential.”

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