• Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) coordinates first joint intervention of its kind from groups across EU, Canada, US and Japan
  • ‘SME7′ collective issues shared recommendations, stressing that “recovery will hinge on success of the 99%”
  • Call to action comes as finance ministers meet seven days before G7 commences in Cornwall

Small business bodies representing firms from across G7 nations and the European Union are calling on conference leaders to put smaller enterprises “at the heart of economic recovery plans” as finance ministers meet in London ahead of the conference getting underway in Cornwall in seven days’ time.

In a joint statement, issued today after a meeting of the groups convened by FSB last month, the SME7 collective also urges leaders to “support small businesses on their journeys to reduce carbon emissions”, “address the digital divide” and “champion a small business-friendly international trading framework”, asks aligning with the G7 policy priority areas outlined by the Government.

Small and mid-sized firms make-up 99% of businesses across the G7. The groups, which together represent 13 million businesses internationally, argue that smaller firms and sole traders “must be top of mind” as conference talks progress.

In addition to the joint statement, FSB has put forward seven specific recommendations covering the G7 priority areas. The UK’s largest business group is urging policymakers to:

  • Introduce a World Trade Organisation (WTO) committee dedicated to the trading needs of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, as outlined in its ‘Trading Forward‘ study.
  • Ensure any future free trade agreements include dedicated small business chapters, so that smaller firms can make the most of preferential terms, comparable to that included in the EU-UK deal.
  • Unlock the potential of small firms that sell goods and services online by removing barriers to access and digitising customs paperwork, as set out in ‘Destination Digital‘.
  • Follow the five principles it has set out to ensure smaller firms can successfully make the transition to a net zero economy.
  • Introduce digital vouchers to ensure small firms can access the right tech and training.
  • Deliver full fibre broadband connectivity for every small business premises.
  • Radically reform business taxation to make it fairer for small businesses at the heart of community high streets, as proposed in ‘Streets Ahead‘.

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said:

”The overwhelming majority of firms across the G7 are smaller businesses and sole traders. As finance ministers gather today, and as we look ahead to the full conference launch seven days from now, it’s vital that all those attending have the needs of small firms front and centre as they agree measures to get the global economy back on track.

“Our recovery will hinge on the 99%, so its voice must not be lost – that’s why we’ve coordinated this one-of-a-kind intervention.

“From improving digital connectivity, to aiding the transition to net zero, to formulating trade policies that work for all, it’s so important that global leaders work together to facilitate a small business, sole trader, entrepreneur-led recovery, one that secures sustainable prosperity in every local community across the UK and beyond.”

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