Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

MEPs and Small Businesses

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 19th February, 2014

Last week the Federation of Small Businesses launched its European Elections manifesto in Brussels and this evening I will be taking part in a panel discussion organised by the FSB at University College London (UCL). Here’s what the FSB Europe Team has to say, in brief:

MEPs must be the voice of small businesses
by Sietske de Groot and Jayne Almond, the Federation of Small Businesses.
FSB logoLast week the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) launched its manifesto for the 2014 European Elections in Brussels. In a packed room in the European Parliament, we presented our calls on MEPs, on candidates and on parties. The manifesto sets out our ideas for boosting the single market, improving the quality of regulation, and driving economic growth and jobs across Europe.The European market has been good for business. UK firms have benefited from the lifting of trade barriers and free movement of goods and services that stem from the creation of the Single Market. The benefits of 500 million customers and 23 million businesses on the doorstep cannot be underestimated. However, the EU needs reform and more flexibility for our businesses to compete with emerging powers in today’s global economy. The FSB has 200,000 members across the UK, representing a huge variety of sectors. A fifth of our members trade abroad, predominately within the EU, but all are affected by EU laws. Our members see real opportunities from ambitious trade deals which make exporting easier, from boosting e-commerce and trade in services. However, they also point out that laws which are complicated to understand or poorly enforced are a burden on business. Too often small and micro firms struggle with rules made for businesses with 200 or 2000 employees.
Economic difficulties have increased the pressure on MEPs to act – and sometimes they act without Thinking Small First. Some fail to see the importance of small businesses and propose impractical changes to draft legislation. So we are asking the next intake of MEPs to carefully consider the impact of regulation on the smallest businesses, to examine the evidence and challenge impact assessments. It’s not about blanket exemptions, but designing effective, proportionate regulation which is fair to small firms.We want important trade deals such as the upcoming Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to support the growth aspirations of small firms. For example, one member says she has to fill in forms by hand and needs to have a US bank account. Small firms can easily be deterred by such things.  A small business voice in TTIP is essential, not only to facilitate trade between US and EU small firms, but also as an example for other trade deals. We want to see a culture of entrepreneurship flourish so our home-grown start ups innovate, survive and thrive. Europe should be the natural home for those entrepreneurs with a quirky idea who develop, market and then sell it all over the world. With just under 100 days till the elections, we will be keeping the pressure on candidates to ‘Think Small First’ in everything they do – as they shape the manifestos, campaign in their constituencies, begin work in Parliament and scrutinise the proposed Commissioners.
(Sietske de Groot and Jayne Almond work in the EU team of the Federation of Small Businesses)
This article first appeared on the Euroblog of the European Movement UK: http://www.euromove.org.uk 
Advertisements

One Response to “MEPs and Small Businesses”

  1. Chris said

    I run a small business. I wouldn’t dream of joining the FSB because it has consistently been the voice of the sort of europhobe spiv who thinks they’ll be able to discriminate according to their racial or sexual prejudices, fire people on a whim, pollute, cause industrial accidents and do any manner of unnacceptable things, if only we could leave that awful EU. It’s not the voice of small business and, as far as I can see, never has been.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: