Very often government thinks of small business as “Big business only smaller”, but this is not the case. Small businesses have very different structures, challenges, opportunities and motivations and they make up the largest part of the UK economy.

The Forum of Private Business would like to try and help the government get close to these businesses and understand the needs of the owners as well as the impact of government actions on them. We are encouraging our members to sign up to the “Get Britain Trading” campaign and to open their doors to welcome ministers, MP’s and Civil Servants to spend time working with them and to get to a full understanding of this highly entrepreneurial sector.

The Forum takes a proactive and solution-based approach to help government and small business deal with the challenges they face and to help the government to understand the impact of the changes that they make we want to ensure that regulation is fair, clear and able to evolve along with the rapid pace of change in the business world.

Regulators, need to get regulation as right as it can be, but design into the regulation processes to review evaluate and evolve the regulation, along with someone with the responsibility and authority to manage the process. They need to regularly look at what’s working, what isn’t and how they can make it better.

As the regulatory policy committee pointed out “too often departments have failed to provide relatively basic evidence such as the proportion of those affected by the regulation that is likely to be small or micro-businesses”.

Is Uncertainty the new normal?

This was a question, Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum of Private Business was asked by a member of the House of Lords and the answer is a resounding yes, the rate of change in the world and the resulting un-certainly in the business world is very rapid.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn – Alvin Toffler

This means we all have to get used to change as the environment changes, Charles Darwin spoke about the survival of the fit, those creatures that evolved to fit into the changing environment, it’s the same challenge we face as business people.

Businesses can’t expect certainty because certainty means a stable and unchanging environment and we don’t have nor can we expect that to be the case.

In order to deal with change business owners need to constantly ask better questions about every aspect of their business.

The Forum Pledge:

  • We will work with our members to help improve their business performance and productivity, by providing clear and up to date information and education on the constantly changing regulatory and compliance issues. As well as wider support to help them grow and develop their businesses.
  • We will work with the government to make it simpler and fairer to do business in the Our main member request is “Make it easier for me to do business and give me a level playing field to operate on.
  • To maintain the trust, reputation and value in British companies. The Forums existing “Hall of Shame” has been re-launched, to encompass any bad behaviour that damages trust in British to see better Big business seems isolated from the wider community its workforce and its suppliers and as a result seems to be more prone to poor and unethical behaviour. We aim to highlight this behaviour in the “Hall of shame”, share the common bad practice with the government and help to educate and encourage the guilty parties to change their behaviour for the benefit of the UK economy.
  • We will help our member companies to set a good example by behaving in an ethical and compliant We have developed an ethical workbook and a compliance handbook that will be made available to all Forum of Private Business members.
  • Provide government and their agencies with clear direct feedback of our member’s views and fight injustice on their We will make sure that changes are communicated clearly to our members along with any action that they need to take in their business.

Get Britain Trading: Our Campaign

  • In terms of Brexit, we expect BEIS and the government to continue to share the general direction their negotiations will take and to communicate a clear direction of travel in order to maintain business confidence. We also feel that small business needs to be encouraged to ask the right questions about the potential impact of Brexit on their business, those businesses that are running through the possible changes will be those most likely to be able to deal with them. So Government needs to share possible scenarios and identify the kind of questions they need to be asking of themselves and their business
  • We have launched a Forum Hospitality sector to offer help, advice, support and information for the Free trade, Tenancy and the small Brewing and distilling businesses within this sector. A clear example of where regulation has been implemented is failing and lacks a champion to get the regulation back on track is the pub code which was supposed to protect the rights of Pubco tenants and ensure they were no worse off than the free of tie. Pub tenants and their pubs are part of the fabric of British Society, our newly launched “Protect your Pub” campaign aims to help pub company tenants, see “Protect your Pub”
  • By working closely with government departments, the Forum will work remove unnecessary red tape and regulation and to take some of this burden of compliance from our members, while ensuring new regulation is simple and effective. We have been talking to the business department and will continue to do so
  • Late Payment has been an issue for as long as the Forum has been in existence, 40 years it’s about time we addressed this issue, particularly as the increased burdens and reduced margins for small business means that late payment can lead to business failure. See “late payments” page
  • We will support a “Restore the high street” initiative aimed at proving the value of Britain’s high streets and getting investment and help for the retailers of the future and suggest better solutions on rent and business rates. The Forum wants to encourage the government to reward entrepreneurs and small business owners, both on the high street and off, to help them increase their performance and productivity, driving the UK economy to new heights. See restore the high street page.
  • The Forum ask that we have a skilled workforce available for business, be it skilled employees from other countries, (reassuring those who are already here and contributing to the UK economy) or by better education and training, within our schools and colleges to fill these skill We need to introduce children to business and creativity heroes, to encourage questioning behaviour, problem solving and a healthy approach to making mistakes and learning from them. See Skills and Education Page
  • The Forum wants to see a rebalancing of the UK economy away from London to be better distributed throughout the government can drive this through relocation of existing departments and support of infrastructure projects like the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands engine so spending and development that benefits the whole of the UK.