Advertisement for the September FSB Small Business Round-Up

From PX Founding Partner, the Federation of Small Businesses, comes a highly topical podcast diving into the challenges faced by small business owners all across the UK.

In this podcast from the Federation of Small Businesses, FSB’s Tina Mckenzie, Chair of Policy and Advocacy, and Hollie Whittles, Skills Policy Champion, sit down with Jon Watkins to discuss the current state of small businesses across the UK.

The first part of the conversation focusses on the impact of the energy crisis and rising cost of living, and how small businesses are navigating and pivoting to make ends meet.

“Small firms are facing a toxic mix of the soaring energy bills and other business costs, as well as high taxes, rampant inflation, and negative economic growth.”

Tina Mckenzie, Chair of Policy and Advocacy, FSB

Tina outlines a few initiatives that the government could take to make it easier on small businesses:

  • Help small businesses with their energy bills
  • Cut VAT across the board, at least on energy costs
  • Cut fuel duty
  • Revert the increase in National Insurance, which may be considered a tax on jobs
  • Extension of business rates relief
  • Encourage local authorities to distribute Covid-19 response funds
  • Ensure that big businesses pay small businesses on time

“There are things they [Government] can do to make it easier on small businesses and remembering that small businesses employ more (…) than 60% of the employees in the UK. So that population really has to be protected.”

Tina Mckenzie, Chair of Policy and Advocacy, FSB

The second part of the conversation focusses on FSB’s white paper on education and skills across small businesses, presented by Hollie Whittles.

FSB research shows that 78% of small businesses are experiencing recruitment difficulties. In addition to struggling with employee attraction, there’s an urgent need for people with more literacy, numeracy, digital, and technical skills. Hollie suggests that this skills gap might be addressed via a greater use of apprenticeships and the T-level system, which enables learners to secure an excellent qualification alongside gaining practical experience.

“The people are our business. Everything that we do, we couldn’t do without the people. So getting them the right education and getting them through the right training is absolutely vital for our business to survive.”

Hollie Whittles, Skills Policy Champion, FSB

Hollie also highlights particular areas within the education system where small businesses might help increase or improve the talent pool – areas such as getting involved in becoming an enterprise adviser, or a STEM ambassador, and actually going into schools and colleges and talking to young people directly about the skills needed to work in a small business or even start their own business.

Follow FSB on your preferred podcast app to stay up to date with future business round-ups.


  • Matthew Jaffa, FSB

Listen here

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