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24 April 2017

FSB: Appoint a Small Business Champion for Glasgow City Deal

Ensure local smaller firms get their voice heard on key spending decisions

The new leadership of the Glasgow City Council should appoint an independent Small Business Champion for the Glasgow City Region City Deal to make sure local firms’ voice is heard, said the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Launching its manifesto ahead of the May 4 council polls, the small business campaign group says Glasgow’s incoming administration must ensure that the £1.13bn investment will benefit smaller businesses. FSB argues that a Small Business Champion should represent local firms’ interests in the governance and operation of the City Deal.

90.1% of businesses in the Glasgow City Region are small businesses, accounting for 192,000 private sector jobs, along with nearly 90,000 who are self-employed. Over 45,000 small businesses contribute £16.6bn to the City Region’s economy and are a vital part of it.

FSB believes that their interests must be represented in the City Deal’s decision-making process. 

FSB suggests that a Small Business Champion should become a part of the City Deal’s Project Management Office and also sit on Economic Leadership Board. The champion should be tasked with promoting supply chain opportunities, increasing regulatory consistency and ensuring that local smaller firms win more procurement contracts.

Martin Little, Chair of FSB in Glasgow, said: “The vast majority of firms in the Glasgow City Region are micro and small businesses. They make a significant contribution to the local economy and people’s lives, and that’s why it is important for their distinct voice to be heard, and acted upon, at the highest level in the City Deal.

“An independent Small Business Champion would make sure that key decisions on the City Deal take small businesses’ interests into account and that they get a fair share of the investment.”

More than three in five smaller businesses in the Glasgow City Region feel that decisions taken by local authorities are too remote from their communities, according to FSB’s recent survey.

Martin Little said: “We know that smaller firms are key to prosperous local economies. In these uncertain times, strong partnerships between councils and their business communities are more important than ever.  

“Our manifesto sets out practical measures councils can implement to boost their local economies, help businesses grow and reduce demands on council services.”

FSB’s key recommendations include revitalisation of local town centres. It suggests that councils should offer disused council town centre premises for free to local start-up businesses, pop-up operators or the self-employed.