Throughout the recent General Election campaign and subsequently, the FSB has lobbied all political parties, urging them to address important issues that had, for too long, been pushed to one side because of Brexit.

With the New Year well under way, we are continuing with our ‘Back to Business’ campaign. This is important because our recent research, which was conducted in the wake of last month’s vote, shows that small firms have a number of priorities that they want to see action on. Many are particularly relevant to this County, such as increased investment to improve broadband connectivity, improvements to local road networks, business rates reform and an end to the late payment crisis.

It was encouraging therefore, to see the new Government making pledges to address these head on.

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They include a commitment to invest £5 billion in broadband connectivity, which was especially welcome. Seven in ten (69 per cent) small firms say that the guaranteeing of gigabit broadband would have a moderately positive (35 per cent) or very positive (34 per cent) impact on their business. Among firms based in rural areas, the figure rises to 72 per cent.

A similarly high proportion (70 per cent) expect that commitments to invest in local roads and put £2 billion towards mending potholes will impact them positively.

Meanwhile, almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of small firms believe that pledges to reform business rates and extend the retail discount will have positive impacts if delivered.

It is also significant that more than three out of five (61 per cent) small firms expect that the appointment of a new Small Business Commissioner with additional powers to tackle late payments will positively impact their business.

It is encouraging that this new administration is committing to action and investment in these areas. It’s now time to turn words into action.

The small business community has been gripped by pessimism for more than a year now. Reversing this mind-set will require swift, decisive and effective action on these fronts.