Sole traders and microbusinesses 'disillusioned with political parties'

Sole traders and microbusiness owners feel that they are not properly represented by either central or local government.

Read the Simply Britain Backing Business report here.

This is according to new research from Simply Business, which found that 50 per cent of sole traders and microbusiness owners do not feel that any political party understands their needs.

Meanwhile 56 per cent said that both local and central government are out of touch with their requirements.

The research, based on responses from almost 2,000 sole traders and microbusiness owners, also found that many of the government’s headline policy announcements have made no difference to these firms and individuals.

Every area of recent policy change was ranked as having had no impact by at least 50 per cent of respondents. Some 80 per cent said that changes to export rules, one of the government’s best-publicised business campaigns, had made no difference to their business.

Instead, the research suggests that sole traders and microbusinesses are more concerned about the day-to-day realities of running their small firms. Petrol costs ranked first amongst respondents’ priorities, with business rates and tax, red tape, and utility costs rounding out the top four.

Simply Business CEO Jason Stockwood said: “The Simply Britain Backing Business report demonstrates a dislocation between the main political parties’ legislation, both enacted and proposed, and the priorities of the businesses they are trying to encourage. The coalition has been enthusiastic in its support of UK enterprise, but the 2,000 firms we surveyed said that little of that support is having an impact.

“Microbusinesses are unique, and they have unique needs – but these are not currently being fulfilled.

“That uniqueness is demonstrated in the language that sole traders and microbusinesses use to talk about themselves. They don’t recognise the term ‘small business’ as a government descriptor for what they are or do – and yet sole traders and microbusinesses account for a staggering 95 per cent of the 4.9 million so-called ‘small businesses’ in the UK. This language barrier hints at a larger, more practical problem. The government is designing policies according to what it believes small businesses need, but because of the specific set of challenges and risks faced by sole traders and microbusinesses, government support is passing them by.”

Based on the results of the survey, Simply Business is making five recommendations to policymakers:

  1. The establishment of a Minister for Microbusiness
  2. A reduction in the small profits rate of Corporation Tax
  3. A further increase in the rate of Mileage Tax Relief
  4. The extension and enhancement of the government-backed Growth Voucher programme
  5. Further funding for and clearer signposting of local authority business support

ENDS

Notes to Editors

For more information please contact Simply Business via press@simplybusiness.co.uk

About Simply Business

Simply Business is the UK’s favourite business insurance broker. Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. It has a team of UK based insurance specialists and employs over 250 people across offices in London and Northampton. Simply Business insures over 300,000 UK SMEs and owing to its internal underwriting capability can cover over 1,000 trade types. It has been a Sunday Times Tech Track 100 company for the past three years and was recently named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA.

About Simply Business

Simply Business is the UK’s biggest business insurance provider, specialising in public liability insurance for SMEs and landlord insurance.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. It has a team of UK based insurance specialists and employs almost 300 people across offices in London and Northampton.

Simply Business provides insurance to more than 400,000 UK SMEs and landlords and owing to its internal underwriting capability can cover over 1,000 trade types. It has been a Sunday Times Tech Track 100 company for the past three years and was recently named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA. Revenues have grown from £4.2 million in 2006, to £25.4 million in 2014, and the company has been named 2015 and 2016 winners of The Sunday Times’ Best Company to Work For.