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Business groups push for new SME voice in Government

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has argued for the formation of a new separate Government body to represent the UK's 4.5 million small businesses.

As part of its submission to the Chancellor ahead of the forthcoming Budget, the FSB has proposed a new Small Business Administration - modelled on an existing US department which represents small businesses in the Cabinet - to be implemented in Whitehall to add volume to the voices of small firms.

Although various Government departments already deal with policy affecting small companies, an overarching department that 'thinks small first' should be set up to challenge competing Government priorities, says the FSB.

Voicing frustration for the small business community, it accused the Government of breaking promises with 'temporary eye catching' measures and emphasised the importance of small businesses to drive the UK's economic recovery.

Modelled on the US counterpart, the FSB believes a UK Small Business Administration could facilitate small business finance and credit easing to bolster export, improve business opportunities and also provide greater support for uncontrollable circumstances such as last year's riots.

The Government recently came under fire from ministers for failing to meet targets set in 2010 to award 25 per cent of contracts to SMEs.

The FSB also challenged existing departments to re-examine policies that damage small business interests and improve their communication with SMEs.

John Walker, FSB national chairman, said: "The Chancellor has made clear that there will be no big tax giveaways in this year's Budget and that it is up to the private sector to drive economic recovery by creating jobs and growth.

"A Small Business Administration would allow the Government to quickly implement policies aimed at helping small businesses - such as credit easing - which firms have been waiting for since the Autumn Statement. It would give the Government a channel through which it can advertise procurement opportunities, give expert help and advice on exporting as well improve communications with small firms. All of this would in turn help to achieve growth."