Written by my colleagues Anne Marie Morris and Andrea Leadsom, the report argues that national governments must retain the right to implement their own definitions of what constitutes a micro business. Their preferred approach would see micro businesses in the UK defined as those employing fewer than five people with a turnover of less than £250,000.
They recommend three major policy proposals:
- Reduce EU red tape by:
- Effectively implementing the SME test, which specifically addresses the potential impact on SMEs of each new EU proposal,
- Scrapping the Working Time Directive,
- Reducing the cost of compliance with Health and Safety regulation and
- Eliminating the gold plating of EU Directives into UK law.
- Radically reform taxation for micro businesses by:
- Introducing a separate taxation regime for micro businesses and
- Broadening the range of goods and services over which VAT can be applied at a reduced rate as a prelude to introducing Graduated Relief on VAT payments.
- Improve procurement processes to help micro businesses by:
- Getting the UK Government to upgrade its target that 25% of contracts be awarded to MSME businesses from an aspiration to a commitment,
- Reviewing de minimis thresholds that allow authorities to avoid tendering for low-value contracts and lowering it if required,
- Improving the publication of tenders should, particularly online, so all organisations are aware of what is available and when,
- Asking the UK Government to support and fully adopt the forthcoming EU Directive on public procurement to increase the number of contracts it awards to small businesses and
- Ensuring that all companies that tender through the public sector sign up to the prompt-payments code.
Fresh Start works with MPs across party lines, along with leading think tanks, interest groups, Lords, MEPs and constitutional experts to examine the options for a new UK-EU relationship, set out what this new relationship could look like, establish a process for achieving change and build political support to make it happen.