IR35 changes should be delayed before April, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has demanded in a pre-election manifesto which sets out the most important issues to the SME sector.
With fewer than four weeks until the UK heads to the polls, FSB, which represents small firms and the self-employed, is launching it’s Back to Business 2019 manifesto.
Fresh analysis from the group shows that there are typically 7,000 sole traders in every UK constituency, part of a wider community of more than 25,000 people who work in smaller businesses.
As many high streets across the country continue to struggle, FSB is asking the next Government to fundamentally reform business rates, by enhancing and making permanent the Retail Discount – which entitles small shops in England to a third off their rates bills – and removing more small businesses from the system altogether.
The small business group is also calling on the Government to reduce the burden of Employer’s National Insurance Contributions, which effectively serve as a ‘jobs tax’, by uprating the Employment Allowance. Doing so would, as in years past, ensure that no small business employing four people on the National Living Wage pays Employer’s NICs.
Elsewhere, FSB is reiterating the need to implement the measures it has previously secured which are aimed at ending a £2.5 billion late payment crisis that destroys 50,000 businesses a year. They include:
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “For the last three years, the interminable uncertainty around Brexit has dragged focus, attention and imagination away from the task of helping the UK’s 5.8 million small businesses to survive, grow, and enhance our communities.
“It’s time to get back to business.
“We are urging all candidates standing at this election to listen to, and make every effort to understand, the challenges faced by small firms in the communities they hope to represent.”
With confidence among the self-employed hitting a fresh low last quarter, FSB is urging policymakers to focus attention on how to help the UK’s self-employed population by:
Mike Cherry added: “One in seven people work for themselves. Yet the self-employed have always found themselves at the back of the queue when it comes to policymaking.
Local roads that are fit for purpose, through a doubling of spending on local networks, and a ring-fencing of this funding.
The download speeds they are entitled to under the Universal Service Obligation (USO) by 2021 and broadband connectivity by 2025, with an ambition to deliver full fibre by this point.
Good mobile phone signal, enabled by swift delivery of 4G and 5G auctions, a closing of the mobile coverage gap between different nations, and a shared rural mobile network.
“With the number of people in self-employment now equalling the number of people employed in the public sector, it’s clear that this situation can no longer be justified.
“The nature of self-employment means solutions that work for employees do not always work for the self-employed. The next Government should set aside time, effort and resource to right this wrong.”
And with investment tumbling over the course of this year, the group is calling for a radical uplift in infrastructure funding over the next parliament to ensure that all small firms have access to: