The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has stated that flat economic growth should serve as a wake-up call to the government ahead of the 2020 Budget.
The FSB said that UK firms have been 'in the doldrums', and that business confidence was in negative territory for the entirety of 2019.
Data published recently by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that GDP was flat in the fourth quarter of 2019. The ONS noted that GDP growth was 'particularly volatile' throughout 2019, reflecting alterations to the UK's planned exit dates from the EU.
The FSB stated that negative confidence levels have caused small businesses to hold back on investment, exports and hiring new employees.
'Small firms right across the country will be looking to the upcoming Budget as a chance to turn things around and create a pro-business environment that encourages growth and success,' said Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB.
'This government must put the measures in place that small firms need to thrive: a pro-business free trade agreement with the EU and nations beyond; an immigration system that works for firms all sizes; and an end to the debilitating impact of late payments, which almost doubled to £20 billion last year.
'The Budget next month is a chance for the Chancellor to illustrate his support for small firms that he committed to during the General Election campaign.'