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From your Chairman

With the seemingly never-ending procession of debates, referendums and elections over recent months, you were probably looking forward to getting on with your business and leaving the politicians and policy makers to get on with their jobs too.

Trouble is, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about our economic future and there is still a danger that ill-informed decisions and compromised deals will lead to problems, or ‘unintended consequences’ in the national economy.  National problems quickly become local problems.  Plus, because smaller businesses are impacted disproportionately – that is, we are less well-resourced to withstand the negative impact of poorly thought through decisions – it makes it all the more important that our voice is heard and acted upon.

Looking beyond the many challenges that Brexit poses on the international stage, at a domestic level I am concerned that potential rises in National Insurance and Business Rates remain key issues that we need to be alert to.  Same with the slow progress on simplifying the tax system.  Same with late payment.  Same with soaring employment and energy costs.  These are all areas where governments and policymakers of all political persuasions have made life more difficult for businesses in the past.  Not necessarily because they intended to.  Rather, because they didn’t fully realise the unintended consequences of their actions.

So, far from ‘burying our heads in the sand’ and leaving others to sort the politics, we must remain alert and pro-active on all the issues that could provide challenges – and opportunities – for small business growth.

Ray Hickinbottom
FSB Shropshire and Regional Chairman