Launched today by the Forum of Private Business (FPB), ‘Get Britain Trading’ aims to raise awareness of the contribution that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make to the country’s economy, and aims to improve the conditions under which these businesses operate.
FPB believes that with enough voices to back it, the campaign could have a chance to simplify the trading environment and generate economic growth.
“There are around 4.8 million SMEs in the UK so, if we all pull together, we can create an incredibly powerful collective voice which politicians cannot ignore," said FPB chief executive Phil Orford.
The non-profit group is calling on businesses to visit the website www.getbritaintrading.co.uk and register their support for the campaign. This would also give them access to a free practical guide on common issues faced by small businesses, such as bank lending, late payment and cost reduction.
Shackles of red tape
"We want business owners across the UK to help to us help them by backing Get Britain Trading,” said Orford.
"We really believe this campaign can transform the small business landscape in the UK and free SMEs from the shackles of excessive red tape, mind-bogglingly complex tax laws and all the other things which can make running your own business a constant uphill struggle.”
The campaign aims to put pressure on government to create the right trading conditions to allow small businesses to grow and become profitable.
It calls for action on issues such as tax laws, workplace regulations and fuel and utility costs. With these changes, argues the forum, SMEs would be more willing to create new jobs and spend money on products and services from other businesses.
Growth over survival
In a survey of 5,000 FPB members conducted in December 2010, 66 per cent of businesses said they expected the year ahead to be no easier than last year.
Over a third said their focus in 2011 would be on “survival”, and 28 per cent said it would be on “consolidation”. Just under a third said they hoped to achieve growth, while only 3 per cent predicted “strong growth”.
"It's important to point out that it's not just business owners who stand to benefit from our campaign. If you create more profitable and prosperous small businesses, you create more jobs, which is something everyone wants to see right now,” said Orford.
"By helping more smaller businesses to succeed and grow, you also create more competition and choice for consumers, so there's no reason why everyone shouldn't get behind Get Britain Trading."