Responding to the launch of the Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto, Policy Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Tina McKenzie, said: “It was encouraging to hear the Prime Minister talk publicly about the talent, hard work and economic value of the self-employed. FSB was founded 50 years ago as a campaign movement against a hike in National Insurance contributions (NICs) for the self-employed. Therefore, to see a major party pledge to scrap self-employed NICs within the next five years is an important moment as a bold and welcome move to encourage entrepreneurship.

“We would, however, like to see a similar pro-enterprise tax offer to support the other major group of entrepreneurs – the one million directors of small limited companies who are a large, hard-working and job-creating part of the UK’s small business community. Meanwhile, expanding the Employment Allowance to cut employer NICs would also tackle rising employment costs and create new jobs.

“Small firms will be pleased to see the Conservative pledge not to raise capital gains tax and protect small businesses with entrepreneurs' business asset disposal relief. For many small firms their business is also their pension and it's right not to tax people all over again when they come to sell.

“It is encouraging to see the Conservatives keeping further increases to the VAT threshold under review, building on the recent rise which FSB successfully campaigned for and achieved. Exploring a smoothing mechanism to prevent those dragged into this tax facing a costly and bureaucratic cliff-edge is in line with another aspect of FSB’s campaigning on this issue.

“Changing the formula for the disproportionately low business rates bills of the out-of-town warehouses of online giants provides a route to lifting more small firms out of business rates altogether, and to maintaining the rates reductions which exist for many hospitality, leisure and high street small firms in England.

“Poor payment practices by big businesses towards their smaller suppliers is a widespread problem which anyone wishing to form the next Government should seek to stamp out, in the interests of both fairness and more predictable cashflow which can be used for investment. It is encouraging to see this problem recognised in the Conservative manifesto, and extending the powers of the Small Business Commissioner would be a helpful part of the solution.

“The end of the Shared Prosperity Fund will be of concern to all four nations. Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England all want to see a strong offer to drive growth in every part of the UK.

“FSB has set out its own bold plan of action for whoever forms the Government for the next five years, with more than 150 recommendations to drive growth for the small businesses that not only provide jobs in our local communities but help make so many of our towns, villages and cities the special places they are.

“Whoever wins the next election, there is a lot to do to make sure the UK has the strong small business economy we all need.”