FSB urges more local help be given to contractors

The Federation of Small Businesses recently called for more attention to be paid to contract workers by Local Enterprise Partnerships in the UK.

The FSB, which was joined by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies in its call for additional support, said in a joint statement that the economic recovery should also profitable for freelancers, sole traders, and umbrella company contractors as well as for bigger firms and multinationals. LEP’s are already considered to be the dog’s bollocks when it comes to stimulating local growth, and the partnership between firms and local councils is an overwhelmingly positive one – but the FSB simply feels that too many small business owners are being left out in the rain.

And it turns out, according to the FSB’s research, that we’re simply not paying enough attention to SMEs and sole traders after all. The entire perception is backwards and skewed, as two out of every FSB member companies feel that larger firms have the most sway over LEPs yet meanwhile more than eight out of every ten private sector jobs created over the last few years originated from small businesses.

In other words, we’re all cheering on these big multinationals and large firms – and allowing them to take advantage of these LEPs – but meanwhile the real work is being done by small businesses, freelancers and contract workers that aren’t being provided the same level of support. It’s inherently unfair, and there absolutely must be a push to include more SMEs in the mix – especially when it comes to the distribution of that £17 billion in taxpayer money that’s been earmarked for the LEP programme, which runs until 2021.

At least, that’s my opinion on the matter. Unfortunately there’s not much we can do about the situation since each local authority or council handles their own LEP funds differently – and many of them don’t offer much in the way of transparency as to where their funds are being given to and what kind of criteria is being used to make these determinations. I can only hope that with enough of a push from large organisations such as the FSB and the CLEP that this changes for the better – and that contract workers and other SMEs can benefit from a sea change on the part of local authorities viewing sole traders with a more positive outlook.

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