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More support needed for small firms with 50 days until EU transition ends as Covid crisis continues

More support needed for small firms with 50 days until EU transition ends as Covid crisis continues

There remain only 50 days until the end of the transition period, meanwhile new GDP figures from the ONS showed 1.1 percent growth for September and 15.5 percent growth in Q3, both of which remain down on February’s figures.

Responding to this, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry said:

"While on the surface today’s figures look encouraging, they cover a period when much of the UK’s economy was back open before further restrictions were introduced. Small businesses right across the country are facing a hugely difficult winter ahead and that's why it's critical that they are offered as much support as possible from both the government and the public as we weather this ongoing Covid-19 storm. 

"However, many small firms are becoming increasingly anxious about the state of trade. With only 50 days to go until then end of the transition period, small firms still have little idea about our future trading relationship with the EU, and it's hugely important that small firms, already under the cosh, can prepare for the future. The new Brexit taskforce will help to ensure that there is real engagement between policymakers and business as firms try to ramp-up preparations

“Which is why the government should introduce UK Transition Vouchers to help small businesses as they attempt to manage both a new trading relationship with Europe and fresh restrictions linked to Covid-19.

"Poor growth figures don’t look set to change in the immediate future, but with the prospect of a vaccine on the horizon there may be glimmers of hope ahead. However that shouldn't mean we can be complacent about the scale of the economic recovery that's needed in order to get the country's 5.9 million small businesses back on their feet.

"Central to this, we must make it cheaper for businesses to employ individuals which can be addressed by reducing employer national insurance contributions as well as offering further support for those who are thinking about setting up firms or to become self-employed.

"And while many continue to work from home or rely further on their broadband and mobile connections, it's vital that these areas are given the investment that they so badly need, ensuring that small businesses have access to critical infrastructure in an increasingly digital-centric environment. The government has long discussed ensuring every home and business in the UK has gigabit-capable broadband by 2025, it's time we saw this delivered as we head into the new year.

"The weeks and months ahead are set to remain difficult with many unknowns, so it's never been more important for the public to get out and support their local businesses, either in person where it is safe to do so, or online. The festive period should normally be a buoyant time for business trading, but this Christmas may not be the bumper period that many small firms will be hoping for. Which is why support from both the government and the public could not come at a more crucial time."

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