Action on fuel duty should be the top priority for the Chancellor George Osborne, according to the Forum of Private Business.

The FSB has written to the Chancellor ahead of his Autumn statement next month with a five-point plan which it says will help the small business sector flourish and lay the foundations for growth in the wider economy.

Top of its list is fuel duty, with the Forum’s head of policy, Alex Jackman, saying: “Of all the costs to business, fuel hits the largest number of our members. We want to see the Chancellor freezing fuel duty for at least a further six months, and commit to a fair fuel stabiliser before the end of this Parliament.

“It also makes sense to see what January’s OFT report says on its investigation into price fixing in the fuel sector.”

In addition the Forum is calling for a cap on business rates of 2%. It says with high street retailers across the country never having been under more pressure due to increased competition from online traders and supermarkets, the Chancellor must act on rates to prevent a crisis in the retailing sector, while all businesses would benefit from a cap on rates to reduce their outgoings.

The Forum is also calling for a reduction in the costs of employment for business by amending the current National Insurance holiday scheme, and also urges the Chancellor to abandon plans to impose flexible working on all employers, regardless of their size.

In its final point, the Forum asks for incentives to encourage alternative sources of finance to encourage more lending to small businesses.