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 agent, Donna Kehoe, and her team met up with local FSB activists from Tewkesbury, Bath, Gloucester, Weston-super-Mare, Stroud, the Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds for an open and informative debate.
The bank team updated the SME owners on some of their activities but were also very keen to hear how small business owners saw the current business environment and what they thought the main issues affecting them were.
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.
Sam Holliday, the FSB development manager for Gloucestershire and the West of England, said it was an excellent evening where both the bank and the FSB members clearly benefitted from the exchange of views.
“I think we were all very impressed with how open Donna and her team were to listening to the views of our members on a wide variety of subjects. In the end the skills agenda - including apprenticeships and making sure young people are fully equipped for what they will need at work – was the biggest part of the discussion which show how important this is for a great many small business owners.”
Donna Kehoe said: ‘It was great to be able to speak to a range of businesses from the area and to hear first-hand the challenges they face. As well as being a lively discussion, we gained some really useful information that will help the Bank’s continued understanding of economic conditions in the region.”
The FSB say they were grateful for the Bank of England for arranging the evening which had been put together by Cotswolds-based FSB South West national councillor Terry Lockwood. A similar meeting also took place with the bank officials in Swindon later the same week.