Following the announcement that Boris Johnson MP is to become the next UK Prime Minister, the Federation of Small Businesses is calling on the new government to resolve the Brexit impasse, thereby allowing policymakers to focus on three key issues that are front of mind for small firms.

The UK’s largest business group is urging Johnson to:

l Modernise a regressive business rates system by extending the two-year 33 per cent rates discount enjoyed by small retailers with rateable values up to £51,000 to manufacturers, and making this discount permanent, whilst also following Scotland’s lead by giving nurseries 100 per cent rate relief.

l Assist small businesses struggling with spiralling employment costs by uprating the £3,000 Employment Allowance, delivering a promised national insurance holiday for firms that employ those furthest from the labour market, introducing a rebate for Statutory Sick Pay, and shoring up apprenticeship funding at the upcoming Spending Review, ensuring small firms are not excluded from the apprenticeship system.

l Significantly increase investment in the UK’s broadband and phone infrastructure, ensuring all small firms have access to the upload and download speeds they are entitled to under the Universal Service Obligation and reliable 4G connectivity.

We need to see a real sense of urgency from this new Prime Minister when it comes to creating a pro-enterprise environment. As things stand, small business confidence is at rock-bottom: political uncertainty has left us unable to invest, grow and plan for the future. The UK has long been one of the best places in the world to do business. It’s crucial we keep it that way.

Securing a pro-business EU withdrawal agreement that can command a majority in the House of Commons is a priority for this new administration. Brexit has been absorbing government bandwidth for years now, leaving domestic challenges unaddressed.

We need to get back to basics. Closing the UK’s productivity gap and increasing GDP growth will only happen when small firms have the political certainty, tax reform and world-leading infrastructure needed to take risks and innovate. Time is of the essence for this new government.