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FSB publishes small business manifesto ahead of GM mayoral elections

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has published its business manifesto ahead of May’s GM mayoral elections, setting out its policy vision for the next four years. 

The 25 page policy document identifies some of the key challenges and hurdles facing the region’s small businesses community over the course of the next mayoral term of office, from 2020 to 2024. 

To read the manifesto, click here

But it also suggests solutions and measures the next mayor may want to consider to help the region’s economy boost productivity, and ensure it continues to deliver jobs, growth and prosperity. 

The FSB’s GM business manifesto is set against four key themes: 

• Making sure GM has the right infrastructure in place to meet local needs 
• Ensuring the workforce has the necessary skills for employers
• Going green sensibly
• Helping Greater Manchester be a leading city region in which to do business

Issues covered range from infrastructure, roads, congestion, education and skills, the Clean Air Zone, and the Northern Powerhouse. There’s a section devoted to businesses going green ‘sensibly’ and what help small firms will need to achieve their environmental aspirations in what looks certain to be a period where climate change and carbon reduction will be increasingly high profile. 

And there’s also a section on help for high streets, with retail businesses still under the cosh and councils struggling to inject fresh life into their town and district centres.  
FSB Area Lead, Anne Lambelin, said: “The next mayor has some major challenges ahead, and whoever takes office in May will have the tough job of navigating our city region through not just the turbulence of Brexit, but a rapidly changing business environment. The next mayor will need to listen to all sections of the business community, not just the voice of big business.

“Our current transport infrastructure is largely tired and failing. It has held us back for far too long and is blunting our productivity. We need massive investment in all modes and forms of transport, and we need a loud voice at government level to secure the cash to make it happen. We also need a mayor who will make sure the wholesale changes required are delivered as quickly as possible, in the areas that need investment most.” 

She added: “Climate change is not going away either, and small businesses particularly will need a helping hand to make the move to more environmentally friendly practices as we head in to the new decade. What they don’t need is to be taxed out of business and more burdensome costs. They will need help, support and encouragement to do more. 

“The impending Clean Air Zone is also going to be a major hurdle for many small businesses. Our manifesto calls for the next mayor to make a pledge that no small firm should be forced to close, or reduce staff headcount, because of retrospective changes to policy, wherever they have come from. This is a subject that will require some serious thought, and could well define the next mayor-ship. 
Adding: “Our city region’s success during the next four years will be largely based on having a strong, resilient and healthy private sector. Our manifesto will hopefully provide some insight for the next mayor to help make Greater Manchester a more fertile and attractive region for businesses, and make Greater Manchester a beacon for commerce in the North.”

Voters return to the ballot box on May 7 to choose the city region’s next metro mayor for the 2020-24 term of office.