Tuesday, meanwhile, saw the launch of the working families tax credit, and next month sees the European working-time directive extended. An exclusive poll by Accountancy Age this week shows that business and practitioners alike want to see the audit threshold lifted. Can you see a pattern emerging? Small businesses want to see their regulatory burden lifted now, while all the signs are that it is increasing. But the SBS - which is charged with stemming that tide - will not be in full swing until April. Companies will not be satisfied until a strong, independent voice is safely installed as head of the SBS to ensure their message is heard across Whitehall. The appointment is as important for Labour as for UK plc. The government is winning the support of small businesses, but entrepreneurs will beat a hasty retreat to the Tories unless the regulatory tide is stemmed. And a company with a handful of employees that has to devote as much time to form-filling as its core business will not last very long. Civil servants must ensure the SBS hits the ground running. Then it is in the interests of small business and New Labour alike that the SBS works - and is seen to work.
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