A renewed commitment to UK business by Prime Minister David Cameron has been labelled a "historic moment" for small firms throughout the North East.
Speaking at the Federation of Small Businesses’ inaugural policy conference, Mr Cameron outlined how the success of small businesses was central to the Government’s long-term economic plan.
Some, he added, could save up to £10,000 each a year by taking advantage of Government measures now available to them, such as Small Business Rate Relief, broadband vouchers and employment allowance, which enables firms to reduce their National Insurance Contributions. More than 3,000 regulations have also been identified for scrapping or improvement through the so-called Red Tape Challenge.
Ted Salmon, FSB North East regional chairman, said: “We are delighted the Prime Minister could address our conference and highlight the recognition placed on the long-term economic security small firms provide. It is a historic moment for the FSB and the North East’s thousands of small businesses.
“Small businesses point to the burden of complying with regulation as a major barrier to growth and the work done to cut red tape will help. Importantly, Government should ensure when changes are made, they are done properly and with North East small businesses in mind, and we would encourage it to look at how tax administration is regulated, as this area places the biggest burden on small firms.”
In the region, there are around 135,000 small businesses. Salmon added that securing employees with adequate English and maths skills was a priority for many, as acknowledged by the Prime Minister. Increasing banking competition and opening up Government procurement contracts to small firms in the North East was also vital.
While the North East Chamber of Commerce likewise acknowledged the Government’s “step in the right direction”, however, its director of policy, Ross Smith, suggested it was “overselling the impact that these proposed cuts will have on business”.
“Removing burdensome and unnecessary regulation that has for years stifled the development of our small and medium businesses must be welcomed, particularly the pledge to address business rates and scrap the jobs tax,” he said.
“More must be provided in terms of support for our small firms. Relaxing of public sector procurement rules to help local businesses bid for work and services or encouraging more companies to adopt prompt payment practices are just two areas that would help small businesses a great deal.”