ECONOMIC stability to give small businesses the confidence to grow should be the main message when the Chancellor delivers his Budget on March 23, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

FSB Huntingdonshire chairman Malcolm Lyons said: "The Budget must provide economic stability and look to ways to nurture entrepreneurship and allow small firms to grow, in order to create employment opportunities.

"With the downgrading of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2010, it is clear that the economy is in a precarious position, and small firms that lack confidence in the business environment will find growth risky.

"The Government does have policies available to show small firms it is serious about supporting growth, such as extending to this area the National Insurance holiday to existing businesses that take on new staff, and keeping to its manifesto promise and introducing a fuel duty stabiliser."

The UK's five million small businesses are best placed to grow the economy and pick up the slack that will be left as the public sector cuts take their full effect, but they need to have a stable economic background in which to do this, he added.

The FSB is calling on the Government to extend the National Insurance holiday for one year to existing businesses with fewer than four staff, reverse plans to increase fuel duty from April 1 and introduce a fuel duty stabiliser to help to control inflation.