Owners of small businesses have expressed concerns about rising taxes, energy costs, inflation and employment costs under the next Government, according to a new poll.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that 90% of small business owners were worried business taxes could rise under the next Government, while 92% were anxious about increased costs and risks associated with employing people.

More than half (53%) said they were concerned about small business energy costs over the next five years and 61% were nervous about the level of inflation over the next five years.

The FSB published its poll results as it launched its small business manifesto ahead of the 4 July General Election, including a call for new legislation to support small firms through a Small Business Act.

This would include enshrining in law measures to clamp down on big businesses with poor payment practices towards their smaller suppliers. It would also improve small businesses’ ability to access finance, including closing loopholes in protections for those giving personal guarantees.

The FSB also proposed that the new legislation should feature a statutory target that 33% of procurement for taxpayer-funded projects should involve small and medium-sized businesses.

Other proposals include a reform of business rates to help small businesses, restoration of the small profits threshold for corporation tax to the previous level of £250,000, and an automatic increase in the employment allowance with the National Living Wage.

To support new businesses, its proposals include an increase in the number of start-up loans by 5,000 and the creation of a “new enterprise allowance” for those out of work looking to start a business.

FSB’s policy chair, Tina McKenzie, said: “Small businesses are the key to securing economic recovery, driving innovation and creating jobs in all parts of the UK. Our small business manifesto sets out the measures needed to create the conditions for that to happen, many of which do not involve additional spending.

“We’re looking to all of those seeking to form the next Government to show their commitment to the millions of hard-working voters who run their own businesses, including through a Small Business Act so we have new legislation to protect small businesses on crucial issues such as late payment.”

fsb.org.uk