Formed in 1974, The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is a business organisation that represents small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. It was founded as The National Federation of Self Employed, and the current name for the organisation was adopted in 1991. 

This article breaks down what the organisation does and how joining it could help your business. Read on to find out:

  • History of The Federation of Small Businesses
  • What the FSB does
  • What the FSB has achieved so far
  • Benefits of joining the FSB

History of The Federation of Small Businesses

The FSB was known as the National Federation of the Self-Employed (NFSE) in its early years. Norman Small founded it in 1974 as a response to the introduction of the Class 4 National Insurance contributions, which imposed extra taxes on the self-employed and small business owners.

Small invited those affected by the new tax to a meeting in his hometown, Lytham St Annes. During that meeting, he proposed an organisation designed to represent the voice of self-employed and sole traders.

Other similar meetings were held in other parts of the country, and within nine months, the NFSE had 25,000 members, with 200 new members joining every day.

In 1991 the organisation adopted its current name, The Federation of Small Businesses.

What the FSB does

The FSB is the UK’s largest grassroots campaigning group that promotes and protects the interests of the self-employed and small business owners. Its mission is to help small businesses succeed and thrive. 

Their main work areas are influencing critical policy decisions in government, offering specialist advice and guidance on everything from HR to insurance. They also run virtual events for small business owners and sole traders.

FSB is a prominent business campaigner in the UK. They focus on bringing about change that supports small businesses to grow and succeed. They have policy and advocacy teams in Westminster, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast that work locally with governments, elected members and decision-makers.

What the FSB has achieved so far

The FSB has had a significant influence on delivering change and influencing policies that affect small businesses. For example, they secured a reduction in business rates for small firms and a freeze on the VAT threshold and on fuel duty. They also persuaded the Government to adopt a reform package to stop late payments to small businesses.

The FSB successfully campaigned for small businesses to be excluded from the IR35 extension. 

They also secured a £675 million Future High Street Fund and successfully campaigned to remove the ‘staircase tax’ and the halving of apprenticeship training co-investment.

FSB’s past political lobbying activities have led to several benefits for small businesses, such as:

  • Overcoming attempts to impose unreasonable National Insurance Contributions
  • The introduction of enhanced capital allowances and flexible working hours
  • The reduction or removal of Corporation Tax for small limited companies
  • VAT reform in the form of a flat rate scheme for small businesses
  • An end to automatic fines for incorrect filing of VAT returns

Benefits of joining the FSB

If you run your own business, you have likely picked an industry you are passionate about. As you’re knowledgeable in your field, you are probably confident that you know it well enough to cope with any challenges that may arise. 

But it’s also possible that you may need to deal with something outside your field of expertise. When you’re working on your own, you might not have all the answers. That’s when having someone on your side can really help.

The FSB has legal, tax and HR expertise and can help its members when needed. In addition, members receive a package of business services, including advice, financial products and support. 

The benefits include protection in the case of tax inspection, legal and HR advice, and local networking groups and business banking. Here’s a complete list of benefits the FSB offers to its members:

Volunteer with the FSB

FSB is member-led and welcomes small business owners to volunteer and help broadcast the needs of small businesses.

There are various ways to help, from simply sharing something on social media to becoming a volunteer and working to shape FSB’s next efforts. 

FSB offers many ways for you to help raise awareness of issues facing small businesses, from simple actions to regular commitments. 

Membership fees

FSB memberships start from £147 per year plus a £30 registration fee for the first year. This rate applies to businesses with zero employees. After that, rates increase depending on your number of employees. 

They also offer a 20% discount for all new full FSB Business Essentials Members joining, and the offer is valid until the end of 2021.

Save time on bookkeeping with Countingup

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your live bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.