Coalition govt can still do more for SMBs, says FPB

Thursday 10 January 2013

The government can still do more to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the UK, a leading industry figure has claimed.

Alex Jackman, head of policy at the Forum of Private Business (FPB), said that while progress has been made since the coalition came into being in May 2010, there is still a lot more to do.

"David Cameron said on every issue that Britain's wealth creators have demanded action, his government has taken action. However, this is not quite the case," he stated.

"The facts are he has met them half way, or compromised on many. The government has been bold, but it could have been brave and gone further."

Some good measures implemented

Mr Jackman said there have been some good measures implemented, and the Business Minister Michael Fallon "seems to be making the right noises".

He noted that the FPB likes the way the government is getting involved in the prompt payment debate, by encouraging large firms to pay their SMB suppliers on time.

"We are also pleased to see government has gone some way to readdressing the employee powers too, by extending to two years before claiming unfair dismissal, looking at Acas to do more, and introducing settlement agreements," Mr Jackman added.

"But on the flip side, the coalition has been incapable of a sensible public debate on going further in employment rights at times and we think there is still more to be done."

He noted that the Con-Lib government is deregulating, but at the same time extending the right to request flexible working to all.

In addition, changes to parental leave will increase the administrative burden faced by businesses.

"So while the government has been moving in the right direction and appears to be doing the macro things more or less right – that is reducing the deficit and keeping interest rates low – the burdens on business are slowing, not stopping altogether," Mr Jackman claimed.

CBI calls for action on the economy

John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), recently claimed that the Con-Lib coalition should be doing more to ensure a sustainable economic recovery.

He called for immediate steps to put a viable growth plan into action.

Mr Cridland said that while ministers deserve "high marks" for their commitment to tackling the budget deficit and restoring the health of the UK finances, there is still room for improvement.

“Growth-boosting measures like house, road and rail building are getting too bogged down in the planning and procurement process," he noted.

“We don’t need a flurry of new announcements, but we do need to see the coalition’s ideas translated into action now."

Posted by Steve Williams