THE government should target the road network for its plans to speed up investment in infrastructure as the poor state of the transport network has cost small firms up to £5,000 over the last 12 months, new figures from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) show.
The FSB welcomes the government’s plans to help unlock growth by accelerating investment in infrastructure, but it must be targeted in the right areas, particularly the road network which creates delays and costs for small businesses and acts as a barrier to growth.
Amir Butt, Peterborough Branch Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said, “Small businesses feel plagued by the poor state of repair of the UK road network. They should not have to pay £5,000 because of failing roads – it is significant waste to their business at a time when they can ill-afford it.”
In the FSB’s ‘Voice of Small Business’ survey panel of more than 1,700 businesses, half said that the problems with the UK’s infrastructure has cost their business up to £5,000 over the last 12 months.
Another 12 per cent said it cost them between £5,000 and £19,999 – this is a huge figure when considering that the average turnover for small firms is around £500,000.
Amir added, “It is vital that the government rebalances the amount spent on the road network with the amount collected so that small firms can get on with the job at hand of growing the economy, without worrying about roads impacting negatively on their business.”
The FSB welcomes the government’s plans to handpick 40 of the biggest infrastructure projects for investment, but urges it not to neglect existing infrastructure that also requires investment, warning that more needs to be done to address the problem of congestion and the state of repair of UK roads in order to get businesses moving and growing. At a time when small firms’ cash-flow is already being squeezed, the cost to small firms in lost productivity and damage to their vehicles is one that significantly hampers their growth.
In a new report, ‘Small Business and Infrastructure: Transport’, the FSB is calling on the government to rebalance the funds collected from road users and the amount invested back into improving the road network, to prevent the poor state of roads and high levels of congestion from costing small firms.