The regional head of the Federation of Small Businesses is looking to 2015 with optimism – despite small firms being owed £46.1 billion in late payements, “engrained” regional economic imbalances and “ever more gloomy predictions from the Eurozone”.
In his New Year message, Gordon Millward said he felt members were finally receiving the support from politicians the FSB had been fighting for in the 40 years since it was founded.
The number of small businesses had risen above five million for the first time, more had taken on their first employee and productivity, exporting and wages in some sectors were up.
He said: “All of the main political parties have chosen to speak at FSB events. We have also seen hundreds of parliamentary candidates from all over the UK sign up to our #ibacksmallbusiness twitter campaign.
“Politicians have realised that delivering economic growth and new jobs means delivering for small businesses.
“Entrepreneurs still face many issues, not least the scandal of late payment and supply chain bullying we highlighted in December, but it seems like there has never been such a strong opportunity to make a positive impact on their outlook.
“If the gains we have made are going to be sustained, small firms will need support from across all parties in Westminster and in the devolved administrations.
“The coming General Election will be a pivotal point for small business owners.”
The FSB has published a manifesto calling for measures to tackle the “dysfunctional” business rate system, the ongoing skills gap and improving access to finance.
It says it has also reorganised itself for growth.