Autumn Statement must instil confidence and remove barriers to job creation, says FSB

The Chancellor should continue to provide the foundations for long term growth, with a particular focus on reducing regulation as well as addressing the pressing problem of rising youth unemployment in his forthcoming Autumn Statement, says the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

With youth unemployment breaking one million, the FSB believes that the Governments priority should be to adopt measures to get young people into work before they become detached from the labour market.

And, given the seriousness of the situation and the risk of youth unemployment becoming entrenched, the FSB believes now is the time to focus a National Insurance Contributions (NICs) holiday targeted at young people taken on by small firms, as a step towards a wider NICs holiday for micro businesses.

The FSB is also calling on the Government to ensure that its credit easing policy will benefit small businesses and start-ups and not just bigger businesses. If targeted correctly, this could help to promote employment through allowing businesses to grow.

The FSB has therefore pressed for the Government to act upon the Independent Commission on Banking recommendations to increase competition in all sectors of the banking market, and also looks at ways of promoting alternative and innovative methods of credit to small companies looking to grow.

The FSB urges the Government to be bold and to put in place measures that will raise long term sustainable growth, and address long standing barriers to enterprise. The FSB is calling on the Government to:

Introduce a true fuel duty stabiliser which will trigger an actual reduction in the pump price, as the FSB believes that the fair fuel stabiliser announced at Budget 11 does not go far enough, and the sheer volatility in price of fuel at the pumps means that businesses cannot plan overheads properly.

Continue on its better regulation agenda to create a regulatory culture which supports business and growth, especially looking at regulation which comes from Europe which will further discourage firms from taking on staff and look to remove some burdensome employment regulations.

Look closely at the proposals from the Office of Tax Simplification to simplify the tax regime for the smallest of businesses, as complying with the tax system is one of the biggest burdens for this sector.

Reform the Government’s approach to procurement to give small firms better access to the £240 billion pot spent by the public sector – currently only 6.5 per cent of central Government spend goes to small and medium-sized businesses, far from its 25 per cent aspiration. Even increasing public sector spend with small businesses by just one per cent would target an additional £2.4 billion towards those firms.

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Conditions in the eurozone remain a major source of instability and uncertainty, but there are still actions the Government can take to foster business confidence and remove barriers to job creation.

“The Autumn Statement must bring in measures to address the longer-term structural issues which are holding back enterprise and job creation. For small businesses to welcome the statement, they need to see clear evidence that policies already announced are having an effect on the ground. Too often, the impression is that good intentions are not translated into tangible benefits for businesses.

“The FSB has put forward proposals for a NICs holiday for firms hiring young workers. Not only will this help to stop young people becoming detached from the labour market, but would also target tax incentives at the firms that need them most.

“Any proposals brought forward on credit easing must address the issue of small firms’ access to finance, and not just offer additional funds for larger businesses. It must also bring competition into the market, and start to break the stranglehold of the big banks.”


Notes to Editors

The FSB is the UK's leading business organisation with more than 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at

To read the full FSB Autumn Statement submission letter visit


Andrew Cave, Chief Spokesperson: 07917 628991
Prue Watson: 020 7592 8121 / 07825 125 695
Sara Lee: 020 7592 8113/ 07595 067068

For regional FSB contacts please go to