Current and uture governments will be orced tomake complex and torturous decisions as theyplot a course to recovery. Based on expert opinion,extensive research and survey data, this documentaims to inorm the crucial decisions that will be takento tackle the budget decit.This report draws on the top-line results o the mostextensive survey o the small-business communitysince the recession began. The FSB–ICM Research‘
Voice of Small Business Annual Survey’
revealsthat, despite diculties, small businesses are alreadyleading the way back to growth. The survey’s ndingsshow that around three in ten small businesses haveseen prots (27 per cent) and sales volumes (30 percent) grow in the last year.More encouraging still, over hal (53 per cent) osmall businesses have continued to introduce newor improved products or services in the last 12months. A similar proportion (51 per cent) intend tointroduce new products and services in the next 12months. Despite the recession, the desire to innovateis undimmed in the small-business community andmight even have been encouraged by the diculteconomic conditions. Although encouraging, these results should not beread as a signal to pull the plug on the economicstimulus just yet. In act, these signs o recoverystrengthen the argument or targeted measures tonurture this tentative growth. A sustained recovery will require more nance than thebanks are currently able or willing to give; it will requirea sympathetic tax regime, a stable and predictablebusiness environment, and targeted measures tobring on innovation and entrepreneurship. In short,the government most able to get conditions rightor entrepreneurs and small businesses to thrive willbe the government best placed to guide us out orecession and back to growth.Much has already been done to support the small-business community through this recession and theFSB, never an organisation to merely comment romthe sidelines, has led the way in proposing measuressuch as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, FinancialIntermediaries, Graduate Internships, the Enterprise Allowance Scheme and the reorm o apprenticeships.The proposals contained in this publication build onour progress to date. They are realistic proposals inthe current climate, in some cases aimed at divertingunds to small businesses to help the economygrow or, where additional expenditure is suggested,this will be covered by growth in the small-businesssector. Armed with expert advice rom the Centre orEconomic and Business Research, the WestminsterBusiness School and survey data rom ICM andnumerous other reports, we propose measuresthat will help small businesses to help the UK outo recession.
‘Labour Market Statistics’ (November 2009)
Voice o Small Business’
Annual Survey (2009)
The UK will go to the polls in the midst o an economic crisis.Evidence o recovery is ar rom conclusive and unemploymentcould still grow considerably. In the last year, the nation’s total netdebt has risen to £800 billion, productivity has been slashed by5 per cent and one in ve under-25-year-olds is unemployed.