You are the backbone of our economy, Prime Minister tells SMEs

Prime Minister Theresa May has told small businesses that they must make the most of the opportunities presented by the UK’s decision to leave Europe.

“I want to build an economy that works for all, and that means working with, and listening to, smaller firms,” May told a group of small businesses at Downing Street today. “From dynamic start-ups to established family firms, our small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our country. The priorities I have set – a more productive, skilled workforce, an economy balanced across the UK and open to new opportunities – can only be achieved if we listen to these businesses.”

The Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce were among those at the roundtable meeting held ahead of the first session of the PM’s new Cabinet committee which is focused on economic and industrial strategy.

May added: “This isn’t about dry economics. Britain’s 5.4 million small and medium sized businesses provide people with jobs, put food on families’ tables and underpin the strength of our economy. I want these firms, across all the sectors of our economy, to be able to take advantage of the opportunities presented by Brexit, such as exporting to new destinations.”

Ahead of the meeting, Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Our members want access to European markets, the ability to hire the right people, reassurance on key EU-funded schemes and a new approach to both regulation and deregulation.

“We will also discuss how small businesses can boost their productivity in the emerging plans for the government’s new industrial strategy. Now more than ever, UK economic growth rests on the future success of our smaller businesses.”