Theresa May received plaudits for taking time to meet with business bodies yesterday in an effort to smooth anxieties over the impact of Brexit and the government’s plans to
Martin McTague, National Policy Director at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), who attended the event, said: “Fresh from appointing her Cabinet, the importance of the Prime Minister hosting us at Number 10 cannot be over-stated. We were able to share the needs of the UK’s 5.4 million small firms to the Prime Minister, Business Secretary and Small Business Minister just as they begin to form their new Industrial Strategy.
‘SME confidence levels at lowest levels since 2012’
“I used the opportunity to press that recent FSB research showed small business confidence to be at its lowest levels since 2012. FSB members are the backbone to the UK economy and it is crucial that their concerns are put front and centre in the Brexit negotiations, and that we work harder to get start-ups and other business to export to new markets. Smaller businesses want access to European markets, the ability to hire the right people, reassurance on key EU-funded schemes and a new approach to both regulation and de-regulation.
“Now more than ever, UK economic growth rests on the future success of our small businesses.Today’s summit demonstrates buy-in from the very top of Government to the importance of small businesses, and FSB looks forward to working with the Prime Minister to take this forward.”
Meanwhile, Francis Martin, president of the BCC, said the government needed to focus on areas such as the skills gap in the UK’s workforce. “The government must in particular address the longstanding under-investment in the UK’s infrastructure,” he said. “This means action on transport, broadband and energy generation, which is absolutely vital in driving long-term growth.”