Press release

PM: An economy for all means hearing the voice of small business

Prime Minister Theresa May will meet small and medium sized enterprises to discuss how to create a more productive, higher skilled economy.

The voice of small business will be heard loud and clear as together we build an economy that works for all, the Prime Minister will tell a roundtable meeting of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and trade associations in Downing Street today (Thursday).

The Prime Minister will say that SMEs – defined as those with a workforce under 250 employees – are the backbone of the British economy, and the government will be engaging them fully in the effort to create a more productive, higher skill economy, and one that is open to new technologies and opportunities.

It will also be vital that SMEs are able to take advantage of the opportunities presented by Brexit. So the Prime Minister will be asking small businesses for their views on the negotiations to exit the European Union – and how the government can help them seize new opportunities, particularly on exports.

Reflecting the importance placed on engaging with SMEs in delivering the new government’s priorities, the roundtable comes in the same week as the first meeting of a new Cabinet committee focussed on the economy and industrial strategy.

Speaking ahead of the roundtable, the Prime Minister Theresa May said:

From dynamic start-ups to established family firms, our small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of our country. I want to build an economy that works for all, and that means working with, and listening to, smaller firms. 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.

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. They are a fundamental part of my vision of building a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

I also want those 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. So I’ll be asking them for their views on how we get our whole economy firing ahead of Brexit.

Roundtable attendees

  • Federation of Small Businesses
  • British Chambers of Commerce
  • EEF
  • Institute of Family Business
  • Local Enterprise Partnership Network
  • The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed
  • Enterprise Nation
  • individual small business representatives