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Support for small businesses


By Ken Maggs, Moore Thompson

A number of national business lobby groups have agreed to join forces to give help and advice to businesses in the aftermath of the decision to leave the European Union.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Institute of Directors (IoD), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and manufacturers’ body EEF met at a conference last week chaired by Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

Enterprise Nation, the small business network focused mainly on start-ups was not invited, so set up its own meeting on the same day, amid fears that the other group would focus only on big business.

Founder of Enterprise Nation, Emma Jones, who is also a Government business ambassador for the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) department, said it was vital for small businesses and the self-employed to be able to easily get hold of the information and advice they need during the current period of uncertainty.

Her words were echoed by a spokesman for the FSB, which was represented at both meetings, who said there must be immediate action to ensure economic stability so that small firms can continue to trade.

He added that smaller businesses need simple access to the single market, the ability to hire the right people, continued EU funding for key schemes and clarity on the future regulatory framework. His view was supported by Mr Javid, who said the biggest issue raise in the larger meeting was the need to secure continued access to the single market.

However, John Longworth, who resigned as Director-General of the BCC earlier this year, called the single market a “mirage” and said that if it becomes apparent in negotiations that the EU will not do a deal on this, the UK should “just leave”.