John Allan elected as new FSB National Chairman

ots-john allan fsb small businesses sefton national chairman southport ots onthespot ots

John Allan elected as new FSB National Chairman

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has elected John Allan as the new National Chairman of the organisation.

John said: I am delighted that I have been chosen by FSB members to represent them as National Chairman, announced at our excellent national conference in Leicester recently.

While I will continue to be active at grassroots level, this will be my final report as Chairman of this region. I would like to use it to thank you for everything you do on behalf of the FSB and UK Plc and to outline the areas I see as immediate priorities going forward. There is clearly much to do to make this country the best it can be in which to start and grow a business.

It is entirely right that we have decided to re-launch our Keep Trade Local campaign. Small shops on our high streets continue to suffer from a range of issues, such as spiralling rates – which in many cases are much higher than the rents they pay – restrictive parking fees and restrictions that keep people away from our high streets, and the aggressive, anti-competitive practices of large supermarkets.

Secondly, the finance landscape for small firms is still far from being fit for purpose. That has to change, not only in terms of improving the availability of bank funding, reducing lending costs and boosting competition, but also in tackling the late payment of invoices.

I will also focus on ensuring Local Enterprise Partnerships truly reflect the needs and concerns of small business owners. It is important that small firms, which have been called the engines of the UK’s economy, are provided with unfettered access to the widest choice of support, information and guidance possible and that local economic strategy development works in their interests as well as those of large companies.

Mention must be made of the recent Budget. I think it is fair to say that the plight, and potential, of entrepreneurs finally appears to be at the heart of the Government’s thinking on the economy.

Whether that thinking is fully formed or not is another question. There were a number of ‘wins’ for the FSB in the Chancellor’s announcement, including tax relief in the form of cuts to employers’ National Insurance Contributions (NICs) to stimulate job creation, but the Budget was a real chance to create a tax and finance environment in which small firms can thrive and drive economic growth – and we are not there yet.

It is, however, important to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in this region and nationally. In 2014, the International Festival of Business will take place in Liverpool and will be the biggest exporting showcase for many years. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, called it the Olympics for Business. For you, as small business owners and FSB members, it is a window to the rest of the world. Export markets are there to be explored in the right way, and support is available to help you.

In championing the FSB’s proud traditions, I will work nationally, in Europe and in every region to ensure the organisation’s valuable work as the true voice of small businesses is continued, and that we maintain our position as the UK’s leading business lobbyist.

I would like to conclude by thanking one person in particular out of the many who have given me their help and support over the years – Elaine Moore, Vice Chairman of FSB Merseyside, West Cheshire and Wigan. This has been a 15-year journey for me, and Elaine has been there every step of the way, so heartfelt thanks must go to her. I wish you all every success for the future, and I pledge to work tirelessly as National Chairman to help you achieve it.

Pictured above (Friday 5th April 2013) is John Allan and small business owner Catherine Tapper of Tappers Cafe, Union Street, Southport

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