A Small Business Is For Life Not Just For Christmas….
So that special purchase did not arrive in time for the big day….? You don't have time to reorder on the internet or go to a big shop in a big town. You forgot the stuffing and the big shops are shut. The dishwasher has flooded the kitchen, the cooker has decided to take Christmas off and you need help now. The local shop or a local tradesman are all that can save Christmas except they are no longer there. They were last year and were "Oh so helpful" and now have simply vanished! What happened? The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) are asking everyone to think about the dire consequences of not spending their money with local small businesses throughout the year.
To raise the profile of how essential this is to the local economy, the East Cornwall Branch of the FSB recently toured Liskeard in South East Cornwall with Sheryll Murray, the Member of Parliament for the area who's offices are based in the town.
Sherryll Murray MP and FSB tour Liskeard
Val Kidman, Chairman of the FSB's East Cornwall Branch said:
"We visited several businesses who are all truly entrepreneurial and doing everything they can to provide excellent products and great customer service. They all said the same. They need everyone to spend more of their budget with them because unless you are a customer when it counts for them, they may not be able to be there for when it counts for you! They are not asking people to spend more in such hard times but just to spend what they have with local small businesses rather than with some faceless online entity or large corporation."
Sheryll Murray M.P. for South East Cornwall agreed, saying:
"We have met with many businesses in Liskeard, some have been part of the town team, the Portas Pilot scheme and other groups all trying to make sure this town survives. The end result is that what all businesses need are customers. Liskeard is just one of many places that need the support of local people and there are some real hidden gems across Cornwall. Service providers and tradesmen too, all provide employment and livelihoods in the community so it is more than just spending money with them it is about the economy of where you live. That has got to be worth supporting so please do think about where every pound goes and please think local first."
The FSB and South East Cornwall MP are Keeping it Local for Christmas
South East Cornwall MP, Sheryll Murray, is to take part in a local Christmas shopping hour with members of the East Cornwall Branch of the Federation of Small Businesses in Liskeard on Friday 7th December, between 10am and 11am.
Val Kidman FSB East Cornwall Branch Chairman said;
"This visit is part of our campaign to highlight the importance of Keeping Trade Local at Christmas. Big stores with big advertising budgets seem to hog the limelight at this time of year. On behalf of our members, who are not likely to be able to stretch to such lavish promotions, we are asking everyone to think about who they shop with, why and where their money actually goes. Liskeard is just one example of the many towns and villages that desperately need Christmas cash to be used within our communities where it can do the most good for our local economy."
Liskeard has been chosen as it has also been the centre for recent attention from the Mary Portas project. The FSB are also keen to see the effect of this work, what lessons can be learned to help others and how the extra profile has been of benefit. The group will be walking around the town centre and will be visiting local traders to demonstrate their support and hopefully there will be some unusual items discovered for those special Christmas purchases.
Sheryll Murray M.P. for South East Cornwall said;
"I would encourage all my constituents and beyond to explore the wonderfully diverse businesses we have in our town centres. To highlight this I am working with the FSB visiting shops in Liskeard but I know that Callington, Saltash, Torpoint, Lostwithiel and Looe are all worth a visit too. Often our villages too have shops which can provide that different gift from the big chains."
Federation of Small Businesses Regional Chairman in Cornwall is Adrian Penter. He said of today's Autumn Statement from the Chancellor:
"There are several bits of good news in today's Autumn statement that apply particularly to us in Cornwall. We are delighted to hear that at long last the A30 is going to get the attention it deserves at Temple as the entry to our main artery through Cornwall. We look forward to our business people being able to travel more safely and unhindered in the future. Staying with travel, we are also pleased to see that the fuel duty rise has been cancelled for now. However, we would like to see a little more certainty over transport costs as it is one of the biggest overheads businesses need to budget for and we cant do that if the goal posts keep moving. We will again be waiting to see what is in store for us in the budget which can be rather a knife edge for some, like the haulage company my family have, if rather unpredictable increases are implemented later."
Mr Penter went on to say:
"With finance, it is encouraging to see recognition that investment in business is vital to growth. Increased capital allowances on investment and more access to export finance are steps in the right direction but there is more to do. We would like to have seen an extension to the National Insurance Holiday scheme. We do have the potential to create so many more jobs with the high level of small businesses that we have in the county, if only this was available to them.
However, there is much we can do ourselves and if we can encourage people to spend their money with local small businesses, especially at busy times like Christmas, then everyone can do their bit towards our local economy's growth. We are also very keen to work with other partners like the Local Enterprise Partnership, whatever the final outcome of discussions with Lord Heseltine. We all need to pull together to maximise our efforts in making Cornwall the best place to do business. We are fortunate that we have strong connections that will enable us to do that in this county at least. This autumn statement provides us with some things to work with but we are all still going to have to work very hard before we show any signs of being out of the woods."
A tough time ahead but we're on the right road for small business growth, says FSB
Commenting on today's Autumn Statement John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
"We welcome today's statement and we are encouraged by the Chancellors' acknowledgement that small businesses need more help. We accept that bold actions are needed to boost the economy and we hope we are on the right road to helping small firms. The Chancellor has listened to many of our members' concerns, and has put forward proposals to address these issues - notably around capital allowances, more encouragement for investors to place funding in small businesses, and cancelling the 3p rise in fuel duty. We now eagerly await further details on the small business bank which we have long seen playing a central role in opening up finance for small firms.
"However, it is clear from the Office of Budget Responsibility's figures that the recovery will take longer than anticipated. Efforts must therefore be focused on boosting short-term growth where finances allow, and putting measures in place that raise the long term productivity of the economy. To that end, the additional funds earmarked for spending in key areas such as schools and infrastructure are to be welcomed. They should have a positive immediate effect across the construction industry and help boost the productive potential of the economy.
"Similarly, we agree with the Chancellor that we should fully explore options to make full use of gas resources to reduce energy bills and build on the UK's expertise in this area. If these proposals are to come to fruition, the Government must remain steadfast in its determination to reform the planning system that has been such a block on growth for big and small businesses alike."
Commenting on capital allowances John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
"It is an encouraging initiative that those businesses looking to invest in new equipment, machinery and vehicles for their business will get a tenfold increase in the amount they can invest tax free. This will boost investment which is needed to grow the economy and create jobs. This is a step in the right direction and recognition of the important role small firms will play in the recovery."
"It will be a sigh of relief for all small firms that the 3p fuel duty rise has been cancelled. More than eight in 10 small firms rely on their vehicle for work. However we note small firms will face an increase in fuel duty in September 2013. Over half of small businesses believe that rising fuel prices are one of the main reasons for increased business costs. Government needs to take the politics out of fuel prices once and for all and look at ways of raising revenue that gives road users greater certainty as to what their overheads will be from one Budget to the next.
Finance and the small business bank:
"We eagerly await more information on the business bank over the coming weeks. While the bank will help to house all Government finance initiatives, meaning they are better signposted for small firms, it should also improve competition in the sector. For small businesses to grow and help economic recovery, they need better access to finance as it is clear that start-ups and the smallest firms still struggle to access finance they need."
"Access to finance is a key barrier for small business exporters. Further export finance will help them secure the contracts they win overseas. The £1.5 billion export finance facility should provide finance to businesses promptly and be coupled with an awareness raising drive involving UK Export Finance and the main banks to make sure that small firms know about the products available."
"We would urge caution before devolving significant funds to Local Enterprise Partnerships suggested by Lord Heseltine. Their development is patchy, and with their institutional capacity low, we would question their ability to deliver. We would also disagree they are the correct body to direct transport policy – there are other better options. Before committing ourselves to the path suggested by Lord Heseltine, we need a full discussion around the strategic direction for local economic development through a full and frank engagement with Government and the other business bodies."
"Taking steps to diversify the energy mix and help ensure UK energy security is welcome and vital for UK competitiveness. Gas has a role to play in keeping the lights on and helping to keep prices down. However, the need to upgrade our ageing energy infrastructure will inevitably mean prices rise over the next decade. What is really needed is a radical reform of the retail energy market that strengthens household and small business consumer safeguards and increases competition in the market."
"We are pleased the Government has listened to our call for improvements in the transport infrastructure, particularly the road network. FSB research has shown that the poor state of roads costs around half of small businesses up to £5,000 a year due to congestion and poor maintenance. We want to see the funding allocated to transport used to improve the immediate state of the UK's road network as this will help small firms and we called for a Road Repair and Renewal fund in our submission to do this.
"It is good news that 12 smaller cities will get ultra-fast broadband. We now need the Chancellor to come forward and look at our proposal on a universal service provision to bring broadband to all parts of the UK."
"We are disappointed that the Chancellor has not extended the current regional National Insurance Contributions holiday to all small firms across the UK. The current scheme has only been taken up by 16,000 new businesses. Our research shows that if it were extended to all UK-wide micro firms it would create 45,000 jobs and add £1.3 billion to UK GDP. We hope this is something the Chancellor looks at for Budget 2013 as the current scheme ends in September 2013."
FSB Cornwall Announce New Leader
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Cornwall has recently held a series of Annual General Meetings in the county culminating in the regional elections for their officers for the coming year. Adrian Penter of Lanreath was elected as Regional Chairman to lead the new Cornish team.
Adrian has been in business some 54 years. He has accumulated a wealth of business experience as a serial entrepreneur having run a construction business, haulage business and more recently a local produce business. Adrian, and his wife of over 40 years Wendy, have worked primarily to create their own livelihoods and to pass a means to a livelihood on to the next generation of their family. It is a very good example of succession planning and the talents that the Penter family have demonstrated in starting small businesses to leave a legacy of employment and family support well into the future.
Adrian Penter, new Chairman of the Cornwall Region of the FSB said:
"I am honoured to have been elected by my fellow members to take the role of Chairman this year. I have had a long association with the FSB in various senior roles and so we can hit the ground running. My mantra for this year is "teamwork creating tangible benefits for our members
Adrian went on to say:
"It's all very well waxing lyrical about business when it's going well but having seen hard times myself I know it is even more important to have the right help when you are up against it and there is a safe pair of hands to turn to. I want to make sure that we provide just that and that our team of volunteers keep this as the focus this year
The rest of the regional team are: Val Kidman (Treasurer), Clive Kidman (Secretary), Mark Stockwood and Carol Andrew (Vice Chairmen), along with Colin Willman (FSB Executive Board) and representatives from the East, Mid and West Cornwall branch committees.
AGM 2012 Update
FSB Cornwall's AGMs for 2012 have taken place with the exception of West Cornwall which is due to convene on 11th December.
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