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From the Wessex Chairman's desk

Over the many years that I have been a supporter of FSB, I have much time explaining the broad range of benefits available through FSB membership to many colleagues and other small business owners, writes Regional Chairman Ken Moon.

When I mention the potential savings and protection they can gain through our ever-expanding range of member benefits, the reaction is usually very positive. 

However sometimes when I further explain the policy and lobbying roles of FSB, the reaction can be less enthusiastic. Policy and lobbying can sometimes seem a little complex, or even time consuming, and sometimes without any obvious quick gains. However lobbying is really about making your voice heard, so that national and local regulators and policy makers work from an informed and rational viewpoint. Otherwise there’s a risk of uninformed, poor decision-making - simply because those setting the rules do not understand the implications and unintended consequences of their approach.

Business rates is a good example.  This unfit for purpose form of business taxation, based on property values, means struggling high street retailers can see their bills skyrocketing, while hugely profitable out of town multinational corporations see a reduction. FSB has yet to achieve its ambition of seeing business rates replaced with a better, fairer system.  That’s work in progress.  Though in other areas – like National Insurance, our powerful lobbying activities have secured real benefits for small businesses.  

We are currently looking for members to come forward, to not be tied to any committee meetings or unnecessary protocol, but just with an interest and knowledge in any issues that may be impacting our local business community. If you are interested in offering an informed opinion, please do let me know.