New PM 'must have a small business focus'

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New PM 'must have a small business focus' (image credit: iStock/starekase)

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has offered its congratulations to new prime minister Theresa May, but has added that she must now ensure the prospects and interests of the nation's smaller companies receive adequate attention in her new government.

Following the announcement that Ms May was the sole candidate in the running for leadership of the Conservative Party earlier this week, the much-anticipated leadership contest for the UK's top job was unexpectedly cut short - it had been predicted to take upwards of nine weeks for a new prime minister to be announced.

While this has been a blessing in terms of addressing a key uncertainty that could have had far-reaching implications for businesses up and down the country in the coming months, the emergence of Ms May as the UK's new prime minister does present a number of other concerns for small business operators.

As a result, the FSB now wishes to highlight some of the the potential issues facing UK firms in light of this change in government.

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry commented: "With Theresa May now confirmed as the next UK prime minister, the government must act decisively to secure our long-term economic stability after the decision to leave the EU."

He added that ensuring the interest of the nation's small businesses are placed firmly among the list of top priorities for any upcoming Brexit negotiations must be achieved, while there should also be a focus on understanding the impact that Brexit will have on non-UK nationals already working here - will these people be able to continue to do so? And if not, who will replace them?

SomeĀ of the most pressing concerns therefore surround Brexit and ensuring the future stability of the UK economy as a whole. As such, the FSB wishes to see Ms May and her team ensure the UK continues to have access to the European free market, as well as receiving continuing key funding from EU schemes and increased clarity on future regulatory frameworks.

Other major issues that the new government will have to address are the nature of British workers overseas - there needs to be more information on the position of the EU on Brits that work abroad.

Finally, the FSB has asked Ms May to reassure UK firms that major infrastructure developments that were planned under the former government will continue to go ahead. Mr Cherry claimed that key projects like the expansion of UK airports, HS2 and development of the Northern Powerhouse are all schemes that will have far-reaching and potentially highly positive impact on employers and operators across the nation in the coming years.

"Immediate action is needed to improve small business confidence and allow them to reliably plan ahead for the future," the FSB chief concluded.