'Pay, pay, pay' to make PM's new deal work
By Rob Freeman | 30th June 2020
The Government has been told it needs to ensure a fair deal for small businesses if its new deal plan to build its way to an economic recovery is going to work.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined the plan to "build, build, build" with a £5billion programme of infrastructure projects at a speech this morning.
He also called for work to help the country "level up" across the regions and all aspects of society.
And Federation of Small Businesses national chairman Mike Cherry said that process needs to encompass the treatment of its members.
He said: "It's encouraging to see the Government returning to its levelling-up agenda, an agenda made all the more important as we emerge from a recession.
"For too long the small business community has been blighted by regional disparities and creaking infrastructure.
"It's good to see the first steps towards addressing these shortcomings - the focus on local roads and towns is welcome.
"Ensuring as many small businesses as possible are at the heart of efforts to deliver these new initiatives - including the self-employed - would go some way to getting the economy moving again."
He called on contracts for the outlined projects to only be awarded to companies who deal fairly with suppliers.
He said: "Today's announcements will see increased investment in our communities via public procurement. If contractors bidding for government work can't pay promptly then they shouldn't be winning it.
"Those lucky enough to make successful procurement bids need to pay, pay, pay those further down supply chains on time, otherwise these new initiatives will be beset by delays and hardship for small business owners at an already challenging time.
"This New Deal should contain a fair deal for small firms."
And he called on the Government to honour its commitment for 33 per cent of all procurement spend to reach small businesses.
"Small firms and their employees must not be locked out of the ambition to build, build, build because of cumbersome public sector procurement rules and practices," he said.
"We look forward to the Chancellor's intervention next week. As we emerge from this recession, it's crucial that he makes a concerted effort to bring down employment costs, bolster consumer demand and upskill the next generation.
"We know that jobs will be under pressure, so we would like to see the Chancellor accelerate commitments contained in the Government's Manifesto still further, in particular where reducing the jobs tax is concerned."
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