Federation of Small Businesses

Federation of Small Businesses

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) was formed in 1974 and is the UK's leading business organisation representing small and medium businesses.

With over 210,000 members [cite web|publisher= fsb.org.uk |url= http://www.fsb.org.uk/general/about/ |title= About the FSB |accessdate= 2007-05-12] , the FSB acts as a powerful lobbying group [cite web|publisher= red-tape.org |url= http://www.red-tape.org/article.php?id=17&supportid=12 |title= The FSB's lobbying role increases |accessdate=2007-05-12] representing the interests of the self-employed and owners of small companies at both local, devolved and national government [cite web|publisher= eGov monitor |url= http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/10635 |title= Minister announces new approach to engaging small business| accessdate=2007-05-12] levels. The organisation is both non-profit making and non-party political.

The Federation also offers its members a comprehensive package of member benefits, including access to a 24 hour legal helpline and preferential banking arrangements.

The FSB's mission statement is:"To be and remain the largest and most effective organisation promoting and protecting the interest of the self employed and small business owners within the UK."


The Federation's past political lobbying activities have led to a number of benefits for small businesses, [cite web|publisher= Microsoft bCentral |url= http://www.bcentral.co.uk/business-information/starting-up/planning/federations-and-associations.mspx |title= Federations & associations to help small businesses |accessdate= 2007-05-12] such as:

  • 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


The FSB was originally known as the National Federation of Self-Employed (NFSE). It was founded in 1974 by Norman Small in response to the introduction of Class 4 National Insurance contributions, which represented an additional tax burden on the self-employed and the owners of small businesses.

Small invited anyone affected by the new tax to attend a meeting in his home town of Lytham St Annes. At that meeting he put forward the idea of an organisation designed to promote the voice of the self-employed.

Similar meetings in other parts of the country followed and within nine months the NFSE had a membership of 25,000 with 200 new members joining every day. [cite web|publisher= fsb.org.uk |url= http://www.fsb.org.uk/general/about/history/YEARS/1975.asp |title= A history of the FSB |accessdate= 2007-05-12]

The current name for the organisation was adopted in 1991.


The FSB has 230 branches around the UK and these are grouped into 33 regions.

Each branch and, in turn, each region has its own committee. In addition, there is a national committee which includes representatives from each regional committee.

National Conference

The FSB holds an annual national conference which is staged in a different city each year. The three day event features a full business programme with a number of guest speakers, as well as a number of social and business networking events.

The 2007 conference was held in Belfast at the Waterfront Hall Conference Centre. Amongst the guest speakers were:

  • The RT Hon. Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley MP
  • George Osborne MP
  • Simon Woodroffe OBE
  • Mitchel McLaughlin MLA
  • Gloria Hunniford
  • James Murray-Wells
  • Mark Durkan MP MLA

The 2008 conference was held in London at the Novotel hotel in Hammersmith. Guest speakers included:

  • Boris Johnson MP
  • Sir Trevor McDonald
  • David Bellamy OBE
  • General Sir Mike Jackson GCB
  • Moira Stuart

Immediately prior to the conference, members of the FSB staged a mass lobby of Parliament to coincide with the launch of the Federation's [http://www.fsb.org.uk/data/default.asp?id=587&loc=policy "Keep Trade Local"] campaign.

Membership benefits

The current package of membership benefits includes:

  • Free business banking
  • * [http://www.fsb-voip.co.uk/] Free VOIP telephone services
  • Preferential rates for merchant services
  • Access to free legal advice from qualified lawyers 24 hours a day 365 days a year
  • Specialist tax advice
  • Insurance cover for legal and tax professional fees and statutory awards in the event of an employment dispute or full tax enquiry


External links

* [http://www.fsb.org.uk FSB website]
* [http://www.fsbonline.co.uk FSB Small Business Directory]
* [http://www.asbl.com/ American Small Business League]

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