A lot has happened in the world of politics in the last month, not least the sudden departure of one Prime Minister and the arrival of another in Downing Street.
For many small and medium sized businesses, the question on their lips is: Will Theresa May be a good PM for us?
While it is still early days, the early signs are promising. In a speech last week, Mrs May told representatives of the UK’s small businesses: “From dynamic start-ups to established family firms, our small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of our country.”
She added: “I want to build an economy that works for all, and that means working with, and listening to, smaller firms….They are a fundamental part of my vision of building a country that works for everyone.”
Other promising signals include:
1. The appointment of Philip Hammond as Chancellor. The former Foreign Secretary had an extensive career in business – including spells in manufacturing, property and oil and gas – before becoming an MP.
2. The announcement that her Government would ensure that the whole of the UK would benefit from the same energy that has gone into shaping the so called “Northern Powerhouse” during George Osborne’s time as Chancellor.
3. The calm reassurance Prime Minister May has offered in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote. Any pre-Brexit suggestions of the need for an emergency Budget have been firmly kicked into touch.
4. The confirmation that our new PM will be appointing a business Tsar to be her “eyes and ears on the UK business scene”.
5. The new PM is believed to see the benefits of flexible working for SMEs. She has been quoted as saying: “There is a real difference between how small businesses can cope with regulation and that burden and how a large business with a big human resources department can cope.
“I continue to believe that flexible working and flexible parental leave will be of benefit overall and will benefit many small businesses, a number of which already operate flexibly.”
6. As you would expect as Britain’s second woman PM, Theresa May also wants to see more SMEs founded and led by females.
She has said: “If women set up businesses at the same rate as men in the UK, we would have 150,000 new business start-ups each year.
“We are encouraging the establishment of small businesses through excellent initiatives such as the new enterprise allowance, which will provide mentors and financial support to help the unemployed to become self-employed.”
Robert Ellis, Principal of Ellis & Co chartered accountants and business advisers, says: “The last few weeks and months have seen some of the most momentous changes in recent times with the vote to leave the EU, the resignation of one PM and the arrival of a new one – and only the second female PM in British history.
“More than anything else, business needs stability. Stability gives business owners the confidence they need to invest in their companies, recruit staff, push forward with research and innovation and set medium and long term goals for growth.
“Prime Minister May has made a promising start but our clients look forward to hearing more about her Government’s policies for the UK SME community.”