Pact to support new businesses

Pact to support new businesses

Local businesses are set to benefit following the signing of an agreement between the local authority and a national business association.

North Somerset Council has put its name to The Small Business Engagement Accord from The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The accord, which is a voluntary code of practice, aims to generate a more productive dialogue between small businesses and local authorities by encouraging the level of participation of local businesses in consultations and local democracy.

North Somerset Council's executive member whose portfolio includes economic development, Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, said he welcomed constructive dialogue with the local business community.

"This small business accord covers some areas where we already look to engage with local businesses."

Ian Dyer, FSB Somerset and Wiltshire Regional Chairman said: "We are very pleased that North Somerset Council has recognised the importance of small businesses and their future. A key element of FSB lobbying, our Keep Trade Local campaign highlights the significance small businesses have in the local community – they aren’t just part of the local community, they are the local community."

And Steve Sharp, FSB Weston-super-Mare Chairman added: "The UK is driven by small firms who make up 99 per cent of all UK business; they are the engine for growth and job creation. Poor consultation fosters mistrust among small businesses and is viewed as complex and confusing. This agreement between North Somerset Council and the FSB is a step in the right direction in improving the consultation process, in turn making the procedure successful in the future."

Cllr Ap Rees added: "The council does already give support to local businesses. For instance, we commissioned North Somerset Enterprise Agency to provide a range of tailored events across the area last year enabling local businesses to access wide-ranging professional financial and legal advice. These provided additional support and advice to businesses during the economic downturn. These sessions were well attended and feedback from those attending was very positive."

Cllr Ap Rees said that these initiatives are being greeted positively by businesses. "The number of enquiries we are getting from companies looking to locate or expand in North Somerset is increasing and anything new which reinforces that we have a business-friendly approach with practical help and advice is to be welcomed. We will continue to play our part to build on and improve the working relationships that already exist."

(© Photo source: Tina Gue)

Published 13 September 2010