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FSB calls for local authorities to support small business

Local authority representatives from across the North East will be put under scrutiny by members of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) today. The grilling will mark the launch event of a new FSB publication aimed at making local authorities serve their local small business community better. 

The publication, entitled ‘Local Authorities…Think Local, Think Small Business, Think Success’, came about as a result of research by the FSB in the North East into the ‘small business friendly’ policies of the 25 local authorities across the region. The event, which takes place at Ramside Hall in Durham, will take the format of a Question Time panel consisting of small business people and FSB members, answering questions posed by attending local authority representatives on the issues raised in the new FSB publication.

Bill Keenlyside, FSB North East Policy Chairman, said: “Whilst our research has uncovered some very good examples, our local authorities still have a long way to go in recognising the importance of the small business community to the local economy. We are aware of only 5 local authorities in the North East who have signed up to the Small Business Concordat – which demonstrates commitment to a voluntary code of conduct to involve small businesses in the tendering process for local authority contracts.

“Also many local authorities take a reactive approach to the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme, which has seen very limited take up since its introduction two years ago, because businesses simply don’t know it exists. This is a scheme which offers much welcomed tax relief for qualifying businesses and few local authorities take proactive steps to promote this scheme.”

For more information about the FSB and the new publication, visit www.fsb.org.uk/northeast.

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