Supporters of self-employed freelancers have welcomed a pledge by Labour to set up a small business administration to champion both them -- and their SME clients -- across government.
The administration, promised this week by shadow business minister Chuka Ummuna, would be designed to house business support, export advice, access to finance and public procurement.
Based on the SBA in the US, which its supporters say helped many American traders pull through the recession, the body would have a minister who would report to Mr Ummuna, if he were to become business secretary.
Such a set-up should allow small and medium-sized businesses to have a “strong voice at the heart of government,” hopes the Federation of Small Businesses, which hosted the conference at which Mr Ummuna made the pledge.
But it must precisely mirror the US model if the UKSBA is going to have any clout in Whitehall, warned Simon McVicker, director of policy and public affairs at PCG, the trade body for freelancers.
He explained: “The creation of a UKSBA is potentially huge for small businesses because it would ensure they continue to be championed across government
“But it must follow the US system to have real political teeth, reporting at Cabinet level and ensuring things such as government contracts are more accessible to small businesses.”
It is not the only idea from ‘across the pond’ that Mr Ummuna has borrowed to applause. Last month’s Small Business Saturday in the UK, estimated to have generated £500m extra spending on small traders, is an American initiative that he is regarded to have been key in successfully importing to Britain.