We would like to thank the Federation of Small Businesses for inviting us to participate in their event on Monday, where David Cameron spoke about supporting SMEs.

There was a lively atmosphere and an opportunity to quiz the Prime Minister, who first gave a speech outlining the government’s commitment to ‘cutting red tape’.

“Supporting business is a crucial part of our long term economic plan, creating jobs and security for all”, said Cameron. “That is why, among so many other things, I have insisted on slashing needless regulation. We will be the first government in modern history to have reduced – rather than increased – domestic business regulation during our time in office”.

On alternative finance

From our perspective, there were encouraging signs that the government is sitting up and taking notice of new finance options like ours. The PM said that he is “very keen on these new models, a lot of which are using online technology in order to help people fund their businesses”. He also referred to the Business Bank, an initiative that so far has provided additional funding of over £10m to businesses through MarketInvoice.

When questioned about problems in the banking system, Cameron said that key to improvement was encouraging competition in the market, pointing to the emergence of new ‘challenger banks’. “Banks have got to feel the pressure of competition, from the fact that business owners can take their custom somewhere else”, he said.

Labour’s perspective

At the same event Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Business Secretary, spoke to the crowd about setting up a “proper British Investment Bank and a network of regional banks”. Labour’s proposal is to create a UK ‘small business administration’, using a similar initiative in the US as a template. In the States, the Small Business Administration brings together public sector procurement, funding and business advice, with a seat at the government’s cabinet table.

It was a great event run by the FSB, who continue to provide a platform for UK small businesses so that important issues can be raised with government.