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This Week's Big Focus on Small

This week sees the Prime Minister leading a trade delegation to promote small and big business interests in China. Along with the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, this is likely to be accompanied with announcements of further support for the small business community. 

The week then rounds off with Small Business Saturday UK designed to boost trade for smaller shops. We are also expecting shortly a government small business paper (highlighting achievements so far) and a Small Business Bill, to further push positive change.

The current focus on small businesses is not an accident. The high level of start up businesses is one of the Government's greatest achievements and it is understandable that they would want to create a platform on which to shout about that success.

The current raft of small business focused papers and events have provided the Forum of Private Business with the opportunity to push for issues specifically affecting our members. Top of the list remain finance and employment issues. Specifically, we are pushing the Government on new proposals around late payment, and seeking commitments on a more infrequent and predictable approach to future employment law changes.

All too often the political parties talk of household energy bills, council tax and the Living Wage, without recognising the costs of non-domestic energy, business rates and wage inflation. Measures to combat the cost of living have a direct impact on the costs of doing businesses. The Autumn Statement on Thursday is the Government's chance to show small businesses it is concerned about their rising costs too. Among other things, we have asked the Chancellor to freeze business rates and fuel duty, extend Small Business Rate Relief and look at some of the institutional blockages to businesses accessing non-bank finance.

Finally, the inaugural Small Business Saturday UK takes place this weekend. Having been run for a number of years in the USA, the concept has reached the UK and seen a sustained drive to get people out using small and independent businesses. The Forum has secured free parking from 40 councils in England to support footfall in towns and villages but with last weekend dominated by 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday' we hope consumers have some money left to spend!

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