We want better broadband and timely payments, say UK SMEs » SMEInsider

We want better broadband and timely payments, say UK SMEs

The leading lobby group for SMEs in the UK is calling for increased connectivity and clampdowns on late payments to help businesses grow and thrive.

On Monday, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) will publish policy recommendations for ministers to take into account in the run up to the general election. Principally, it will argue for the creation of a US-style Small Business Administration.

An SBA would need clear reporting lines into 10 Downing Street or the Cabinet Office, because this would mean you would have the authority and power to deliver,” Chairman Mike Cherry told the Financial Times. “Since we first put it forward, the government has become more receptive and is looking at the details.”

The creation of a targeted, government-backed body to protect the interests of smaller businesses could, it is hoped, help to address issues that disproportionately affect the success of SMEs, such as access to sufficiently fast broadband and late payments. An estimated £39.4 billion in outstanding payments is owed to smaller companies; far more than to their larger counterparts. This can have a damaging impact on these businesses, which often serve fewer clients or lack the access to capital needed to weather a gap in their cash flow.

If you could get that money back into small businesses as working capital to build on the recovery, increase training, it all flows through,” said Cherry.“Government has really got to take a much greater lead on this.”