Government must take sole traders seriously

Jason Stockwood
  • By Jason Stockwood
    Chief Executive Officer
  • 11 July 2011

The British Chambers of Commerce is right to call for more support to be given to sole traders, says Simply Business CEO Jason Stockwood.

Sole traders and small businesses are the beating heart of this country’s economy. They are the lean, agile, innovative organisations that will lead the economic recovery – and it is imperative that they receive our full support.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is therefore right to call on the government to find new ways to encourage small traders to grow their businesses.

In a new report, the BCC has identified what it says are the key hurdles facing sole traders wishing to expand. According to the survey, the perceived burden of employment legislation is putting thousands of sole traders off hiring their first employee.

Worryingly, the report also finds that sole traders’ ambition to hire decreases over time - suggesting that help is needed in the very earliest stages of a business’s life.

Simply Business has consistently called on the government to expand the support it provides to new and small businesses. The help already on offer simply does not go far enough; just 3,000 firms are benefiting from the start-ups’ National Insurance holiday, for example.

The coalition needs to consider more radical ways to help this vital part of the economy. We would like to see financial incentives given to those firms that take individuals off the dole queue and into work. The government should be offering rewards to those businesses that create jobs – because increasing employment is the only way to get the country back on the right track. In these strained economic times, this is exactly the sort of concrete proposal that the government needs to be considering if it wants to see today’s start-ups become tomorrow’s major employers.

The Prime Minister is fond of proclaiming his admiration for the country’s entrepreneurs. But with many sole traders ready to expand, and the country crying out for new jobs, it is time he began to put his money where his mouth is.