The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has written to Liverpool City Region’s newly-elected councillors urging them to work with us to build a local environment in which small businesses can thrive.
FSB, which chairs the Liverpool City Region Business Group comprised of the leading national and local business membership organisations and key Combined Authority representatives, believes the interests of small firms must be at the heart of local decision-making.
During the Covid pandemic local and combined authorities worked closely with FSB and small firms – recently, FSB Merseyside and Cheshire has been working with LCR Combined Authority on establishing shared priorities, underpinned by evidence, to better support local start-ups and business growth. We believe continued partnership will be of even greater importance to help small businesses as they navigate an already tumultuous recovery.
FSB’s new report ‘Local Leadership: How Local Authorities Can Support Small Businesses,’ outlines the ways local and combined authorities across England can build on these new working relationships to empower small businesses and the self-employed to deliver growth, prosperity and jobs.
The report covers a wide range of areas, including how councils should best engage with their small business community, skills and digital connectivity, planning and business rates.
Councillors from Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, Halton and St Helens, have been invited to become an FSB Local Leadership Partner. The Partnership has three key pledges:
- Work with FSB to develop supportive policy for small businesses in Liverpool City Region, as set out in FSB’s Local Leadership Report 2022;
- Establish a culture of parity of focus between residents and the small businesses they work at/the small businesses at the heart of our community;
- Create, or continue in the next term, the post of Small Business Champion (elected member) and single point of contact (officer) within each council
Small businesses are an integral part of the UK’s local, regional and national economies and communities – and they account for around three-fifths of the employment and around half of turnover in the private sector.
In turn, local councils and combined authorities play a fundamental part in creating a thriving small business environment – from supporting small business during COVID challenges and empowering entrepreneurship in diverse communities, to leading the way in addressing current and future skills challenges.
FSB Merseyside and Cheshire Area Leader (Liverpool City Region) Michael Sandys said: “Small businesses in Liverpool City Region are essential to growth and play a vital role in our economy and also local communities.
“We’re asking newly-elected councillors to support the Leadership Partnership Pledge and place small businesses at the heart of enterprise and economic policy-making at Combined Authority and local council level.
“Our recommendations act as a checklist that can be used to ensure small firms are given the right support and encouragement to survive, compete and grow. FSB is committed to working with local authorities and individual councillors to ensure this happens.
“There are so many challenges currently facing small businesses and the self-employed. As well as sky-high energy costs, increasing prices and labour supply challenges, businesses are trying to tackle issues such as skills gaps within their teams and debt acquired during the pandemic.
“Throughout Covid and successive lockdowns, Liverpool City Region’s small businesses stepped up and stepped in to help their communities. They are important members of the electorate, job creators and innovators who drive growth and prosperity. They deserve the best support environment possible, and that is what we want to work with local policymakers to achieve.”
Merseyside and Cheshire Area Leader (Liverpool City Region) Michael Sandys comments on FSB’s new Local Leadership Report 2022