Issue 10 for February 2018 (issued February 6 2018)
Skills high on agenda as FSB members grill Bank of England reps
FSB members from the Gloucestershire and West of England area had a chance to discuss all the key issues affecting local SMEs when they met Bank of England representatives at a lively meeting held in Gloucester. The Bank of England’s South West team met up with FSB activists from Tewkesbury, Bath, Gloucester, Weston-super-Mare, Stroud, the Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds for an open and informative debate. Discussions on Brexit, interest rates and business confidence all took place with perhaps the biggest debate being on the skills agenda and what can be done to ensure that enough is being done to train people with the skills they will need to make it easier for small businesses to attract, retain and recruit the people they need. For more on this story see the FSB website Regional Voice home page here.
Can we help create a new ‘Western Powerhouse’?
FSB members from across this area – plus our colleagues from across the Welsh border – took part in an important debate on the potential growth in business activity between the South West and South Wales when the Severn Bridge tolls are axed later this year. More than 300 business owners and local stakeholders attended the event which had been called by the Secretary of State for Wales and included contributions by West of England Metro Mayor Tim Bowles among others. More meetings are planned with the possibility of the new axis creating a possible ‘Western Powerhouse’ for the future.
Carillion collapses highlights SME procurement concerns The FSB has called for more support to be given to small sub-contractors involved with collapsed construction and service company Carillion, as well as those further down the supply chain. After the company went into liquidation, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry, who had written to Carillion in July to express concern about their payment practices, appeared on BBC Breakfast, BBC News Channel and the Today Programme where he emphasised small businesses will be put in jeopardy if not paid, adding public contracts should not be in the hands of a small number of big firms. Mike is now part of a Carillion taskforce, set up to set up to monitor and advise on the impact on SMEs and the FSB will continue its work locally to push for more procurement opportunities to be given to small businesses.
FSB elect new regional team to support members
The FSB has chosen a new-look senior team to head up our local grassroots lobbying activity. Following a meeting in Taunton, care home-owner Roger Tarrant became the first holder of the new Regional Chair for the South West while Iain Wallis, from Wiltshire, has been appointed as the FSB’s new Regional Policy Representative. They will be joined in the senior South West team by the two main officers in this area: Bristol’s Ken Simpson who has become the West of England Area Lead to oversee Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset and Russell Warner, from Stroud, who has become the Area Lead for Gloucestershire. Also on the new regional top table will be Cotswolds-based Terry Lockwood who is the FSB’s first South West National Councillor. For the full story see the FSB website Regional Voice home page at this site.
FSB takes part in major event on Gloucestershire’s future
The FSB joined 30 exhibitors and 500+ business owners and other stakeholders at an intriguing event held at Cheltenham Racecourse on February 1 to look at the future of the county for both businesses and residents. Six key radical ideas were put forward to help the county grow at the ‘Gloucestershire 2050’ event and to see what they are – including one suggestion of bringing Gloucester and Cheltenham closer together as a ‘super city’ to create economic and business strength – go to this website.
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