There’s a major election cycle upon us – and the Federation of Small Businesses is urging everyone to support small and medium-sized businesses.
Local elections in England, and major elections in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and London have gotten the FSB into quite the state. The trade industry body, which has a long and storied reputation for not just supporting SMEs but the freelancers, umbrella contractors, and other types of self-employed that are so often the major contributors to the success of these SMEs, is urging people of every political stripe to throw their support behind small businesses.
The FSB has engaged with candidates from each of the major parties, according to national chairman Mike Cherry, exhorting them to put small business support at a place of priority within their campaigns. With so many new individuals moving into positions of power, now is the time to commit to supporting small firms, added Mr Cherry, remarking that they and only they have the power to “make positive change” in the regulatory landscape.
Honestly I couldn’t get behind this new push any more than I already am. There’s more than 5 million SMEs in the UK right now, and a good number of the 4.6 million freelancers and umbrella company contractors currently earning a living here in the country are doing their damnedest to make sure these small businesses flourish as much as possible. Coming down for SMEs and supporting them goes hand-in-hand with supporting the self-employed in the UK, and while the landscape has been growing more amenable to working for yourself instead of for a boss, there’s still a long way to go before a self-employed worker will be able to enjoy the same perks and protections of a traditional employee.
Still, I’m not fooling myself – the struggle will take time. Most people got into working for themselves during the credit crunch back in 2008, more out of necessity than anything else as jobs disappeared overnight, but now that Brits have been turning to freelancing as a choice the sector is growing by leaps and bounds. Meanwhile it’s becoming much more respected as a result, and if trade bodies like the FSB keep speaking out and lobbying on behalf of SMEs and the contractors that spend so much time working for them, the future is going to be getting brighter and brighter for everyone involved – small business owner and contractor alike.