Our customers think politicians aren’t doing enough, so we’re on a mission to kick up a fuss ahead of the general election.
A few months ago, we put a set of questions to our customers, asking for their views on the current state of play for British microbusinesses and sole traders.
We asked them for their biggest challenges. Whether recent government policy changes had helped or affected their work. What their hopes and outlook are for the next few years. The results are pretty astounding, and today we launched them in black and white (with a bit of green too – we hope you like the report).
With around 300,000 sole traders and microbusinesses covered through us, we’re now the UK’s biggest business insurance broker, and have a unique insight into this growing and vital community. So we’ve tapped into this, talked to you our customers and pulled the findings into our Simply Britain: Backing Business report. What did we find? Read on for the highlights.
A Westminster that won’t listen
According to our research a staggering 50% of sole traders and microbusinesses believe that no political party understands their needs, suggesting as serious disconnect between our smallest businesses and the biggest parties. 56%, meanwhile, suggested that both local and general government are out of touch with their requirements. Based on responses from 2,000 selected customers - from bakers to personal trainers - these are stunning stats that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Policies unfit for purpose
Many of the government’s headline policy announcements made no difference to these firms or individuals, with at least 50% suggesting that every area of recent policy change had no impact on their business. Elsewhere, some 80% suggested that changes to export rules made no difference to them, despite the fact this was one of the government’s best-publicised schemes.
The realities need recognising
Instead, our research suggested that sole traders and microbusinesses are more concerned about the day-to-day realities of self-employment. Petrol costs ranked first amongst our customers’ priorities, with business rates and tax, red tape, and utility costs rounding out the top four. To confront these concerns it’s clear all parties must listen and tailor their policies. But first we think they need a nudge, to get them heading in the right direction.
We’ve committed to improving the insurance industry but we’re determined to take things further. We stand for small and microbusinesses, and sole traders. And with the force of our customers behind us, backed up by this report, we’re making five recommendations for the current and future government. Here’s what we’re after:
The establishment of a Minister for Microbusiness
A reduction in the small profits rate of Corporation Tax
A further increase in the rate of Mileage Tax Relief
The extension and enhancement of the government-backed Growth Voucher programme
Further funding for and clearer signposting of local authority business support
In the coming months we’ll be doing all we can in the lead up to the election, with this report and these recommendations the start of a campaign to change up policy, and build a future that’s fit for these businesses’ purpose. Download the report below for the full story.