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Forum of Private Business unveils its own manifesto, with small business at the heart of it

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The Forum of Private Business has launched its own manifesto, which called on the future government to protect the interests of small businesses, no matter who wins the upcoming general election.

Phil Orford, CEO of the Forum of Private Business, has claimed that “in order to gain votes” the government has focused on the SME sector by launching schemes such as Funding for Lending and implementing the Business Bank.

“However, we are calling on political parties to put small business interests at the heart of their election manifestos and for the next government to put the backbone of the British economy – small businesses – at the top of the political agenda,” he said.

He explained that SME growth “is being undermined” by red tape and poor payment practices.

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The manifesto highlighted that a review on business rates was needed and that the next government should “make a commitment to faithfully transpose the EU Directive on late payment”.

Orford suggested “a freeze on business rates in the first year and cap at two per cent for the remainder of the parliament”. 

He also called for the Small Business Rate Relief to be made permanent and automatic, or for politicians to exclude small businesses from business rates altogether.

Other measures suggested in the manifesto included the establishment of both a regulator and code of conduct to oversee the relationship between retailers and suppliers. 

There was also emphasis on ensuring the Low Pay Commission gives a two-year National Minimum Wage recommendation to the government, and the removal of VAT charged on fuel duty.

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