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11 May 2012

Invest in broadband and roads – research highlights small business priorities

Reference number: PR11052012

Federation of Small Businesses

Press Release

11 May 2012

Patchy internet connectivity and the poor state of Wales'' roads are negatively impacting small businesses, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Wales research has shown.

In the latest FSB Wales member survey, more than half of respondents (53%) stated that investment in transport infrastructure should be a key priority for Welsh Government, with around one third (29%) stating that improvements were needed to transport systems in rural areas.

Congestion, traffic volumes, road charges and the cost and availability of parking were other issues highlighted by the survey.

One quarter of respondents also expressed dissatisfaction with their current internet provision, despite around 90% stating that a reliable internet connection is crucial to their operations.

Janet Jones, Welsh Policy Unit Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales, said:

"Sophisticated infrastructure – for both transport and communications - is crucial for any outward-looking country and a symbol of an economy''s competitiveness.

"It''s disappointing, therefore, that issues around roads and broadband are still cited as concerns for our members.

"Despite our survey showing that 80% of businesses cite car travel as crucial to their operations, many continue to be let down by the poor state of some Welsh roads. A reliable internet connection was also outlined as a must-have for the majority of small businesses, yet we''re still hearing about poor reliability and connection speeds."

Mrs Jones continued that the rollout of Next Generation Broadband in Wales, though welcome, appears to be progressing at a sluggish pace, which is of particular concern in rural areas where businesses continue to wait for action.

She added: "We reiterate our calls for clear action in these areas to ensure that businesses are operating in as progressive and sophisticated an environment as possible. Modern transport and communications systems are an absolute must in order to effectively serve their needs."