delivers a package of measures enabling long term growth and
RESPONDING to the
Chancellor's Spending Review on 26 June 2013, the Federation of Small
Businesses (FSB) is pleased that George Osborne has listened to the
small business community. The FSB welcomes the longer-term approach
to capital spending across the whole of Government and the planned
investment on infrastructure projects. Furthermore small firms
across the country will hope the planned improvements to the road
network will enable companies to develop and grow their businesses.
With more public sector job losses expected between now and 2015, it
is important that small and medium-sized (SME) firms are able to do
their bit and fill the gap. FSB research has shown that SMEs take on
a disproportionate number of long-term unemployed. It is crucial
that Government provides the right support so they can grow their
business and create jobs.
John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses,
said:- "It is good that the Government has taken a long term
view of how to plan capital spending to the end of the decade, it is
something we raised in our submission. However what we now need is a
clear timetable for delivery. Small firms tell us that school
leavers aren't ready for the world of work with many concerned about
their ability in maths and English. Giving the funding direct to
schools should be used to address this issue. The continued
investment in science, technology and apprenticeships is also good
Commenting on infrastructure spending, Mr Allan continued:-
"Businesses are heavily reliant on local infrastructure. Small firms
use roads far more than rail with 66 per cent of FSB members using
the roads for work. Given that, it is encouraging to hear the
Chancellor say that money will go to improve local road networks.
The FSB has called for a road repair and renewal fund which would
help smaller projects get up and running to improve roads sooner
rather than later. When the details of this announcement are set out
tomorrow, we hope there will be a clear timetable for delivery. With
an ever-increasing use of technology small firms need a reliable
broadband network. While there is little detail about broadband
spending, we hope this will come tomorrow within the economic
infrastructure plan. The FSB wants to see stronger commitment to,
and a radical shift in, the Government's approach to broadband
deployment. The FSB has long been calling for universal connectivity
because it is not acceptable that thousands of small businesses in
rural and remote locations are left unconnected and therefore unable
to take advantage of digitalisation."
Commenting on skills and education investment:- "The
investment in strengthening the skills base in the long-term is
welcomed by the FSB. Indeed maintaining funding for apprenticeships
for those 19 and over, and reforming the system to allow businesses
to have more involvement is good news. However, time must be taken
to get these reforms right and piloting any new system is crucial.
Equally, the FSB agrees that reforms are needed to the education
system as many small businesses are not satisfied with the skills of
school leavers, particularly around numeracy and literacy and other
key employability skills. Business involvement in these reforms is
crucial. University Technical Colleges and Studio Schools offer an
interesting way of increasing business involvement in education and
skills and so further investment in this area is also welcomed."
Commenting on the freeze in Council tax:- "Businesses on the
high street will hope that the continued freeze in Council tax will
mean more money in the pockets of customers. But they continue to be
penalised by ever-increasing business rates – particularly last
year's 5.6% increase. Business rates are the third highest outgoing
for a business after rent and wages and radical reform of the tax is
needed to make it fairer for small firms."
Commenting on energy and flood defences:- "The commitment of
further investment in energy production will hopefully lead to more
stability in energy bills for businesses, where they are quite
volatile at the moment. Equally the commitment to new flood defences
for the rest of this decade is welcomed. However, with the agreement
between the Government and the insurance industry due to come to an
end at the weekend, the FSB hopes this is renewed and means that
businesses will be able to insure themselves."
its Ear to the Ground
LOCAL and national
organisations in Liverpool came together recently to support a
social and information event for people with hearing loss.
Ear to the Ground was a free event for people with hearing loss,
their family, friends and others to find out about services and help
available to them locally and nationally.
For people who use hearing
aids or cochlear implants, it was a chance to find out more about
hearing loops and how they can be improved in their local area.
More than 100 local people attended the event, with organisations
and groups from across the region taking part. The event was held at
The Liner Hotel, Lord Nelson Street, in Liverpool, on Saturday, 15
It was organised by the UK charity Hearing Link. Collaborative
partners were Hear Here (Hard of Hearing project), The North West
Federation of Hard of Hearing Clubs, Aintree University Hospital,
British Tinnitus Association, ATLA (the Association of Teaching of
Lipreading to Adults), Careline Liverpool's social care contact
service and the Cochlear Implant User Group. The event was sponsored
by The Leach Trust.
A special feature of the day was a presentation by Tony Kay, Head of
Audiology Services, from Aintree University Hospital, NHS Trust
Foundation, who spoke about its excellent Audiology Services whose
mission statement is 'to be the Center of choice for hearing,
balance and tinnitus services'.
Dr Lorraine Gailey, Chief Executive of Hearing Link, said:-
"It was a pleasure to welcome so many people from Liverpool along to
our first Ear to the Ground event in the City. It was a rare
opportunity for them to find out more about the support and services
that may assist them or family members in managing the challenges
that hearing loss can present.
When you have hearing loss, it can be easy to withdraw into yourself
and to find yourself isolated. This event was a good way for people
to connect with others who also live with hearing loss. I would like
to thank all the local organisations and individuals who helped make
this event a success."
Tony Kay, Head of Audiology Services, Aintree University Hospital
NHS Foundation Trust, added:- "It was a privilege to be
invited to support and present at this event. I was amazed to see so
many organisations and patients attend this information and social
event on a Saturday and it was heartening to have so many patients
express an interest in finding out more about the services we offer
at Aintree. My thanks goes to all at Hearing Link for allowing
organisations to promote their services and making the event
For further information about Hearing Link and the services and
support it offers, call its helpdesk on:- 03001111113 or by
you have any charity events taking place in Merseyside and want us
to give it a plug, them please do let us know. But please send at
least 3 weeks before your event! Email us to
firstname.lastname@example.org with your
full event information and contact details!