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"Place Liverpool City Region’s small businesses at heart of decision making," says FSB ahead of May Local Elections

PLACE Liverpool City Region’s small businesses at heart of decision making, says FSB ahead of May Local Elections. FSB Merseyside and Cheshire’s Michael Sandys, Area Leader for Liverpool City Region, calls on candidates to sign up to Local Leadership Partnership pledge. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on candidates standing in next month’s Liverpool City Region local elections to sign up to its Local Leadership Partnership pledge. The pledge asks candidates to commit to creating a small business champion post within the Council, as well as a Council Officer role dedicated to ensuring small firms are well represented in decision making within Local Authorities. It also calls on candidates to work with FSB to develop supportive policy for small businesses in their authority area, as set out in the new Local Leadership document. The document outlines the ways Local and Combined Authorities across England can work with and empower small businesses and the self employed to deliver growth, prosperity and jobs. Spiralling costs hitting small business confidence Latest FSB statistics show confidence amongst the small business community has hit a 1-year low after consecutive quarterly falls; with more than 3 quarters of small businesses (78%) saying their outgoings have increased. During the Pandemic Local and Combined Authorities have worked closely with FSB and small firms. Continued partnership will continue to help small businesses through an already tumultuous recovery. The new report covers everything from how Councils should best engage with their small business community, to skills and digital connectivity, and planning and business rates. Among the recommendations, FSB is calling on Local Authorities to:-

Have both a dedicated elected member Small Business Champion and a single point of contact staff member representing small firms.

Set out a net zero engagement plan for small firms, targeting specific sectors, highlighting what net zero means for them, and how they can help reach net zero.

Encourage and support small firms to invest in leadership and management training, as well as offering digital skills training alongside vouchers for software or hardware, where possible.

FSB is also encouraging the 4.9million small businesses and self employed across England, and their staff, to come out and vote in their local elections on 5 May to make sure their voice is heard.

FSB Merseyside and Cheshire’s Michael Sandys, Area Leader for Liverpool City Region, said:- "There are so many challenges currently facing small firms and the self employed. As well as the sky high energy costs, increasing prices and staff absences, businesses are trying to tackle things like skills gaps amongst their teams and debt acquired during the Pandemic. Throughout the Pandemic our small firms stepped up and supported their communities with many local businesses relying on the services they supplied. We’d like to see Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and our Local Councils work with the FSB and small businesses in their area to ensure tangible and long lasting impacts for both the small business community, as well as the economy as a whole. Ahead of next month’s local elections we’re asking candidates to get on board with our Local Leadership Partnership pledge to put small businesses and self employed at the heart of decisions made at Local Authority level. These recommendations act as a check list that Councils across England can use to ensure small firms are given the right support and encouragement to be able to compete, grow and form part of their local community."

Martin McTague, FSB’s National Chair, added:- "Small businesses are essential to local growth and need to be given the right support by their Local Authorities. Ahead of the 5 May 2022 Elections, we’re asking candidates from the major parties to get on board with our partnership pledge to make sure small firms are fully represented in their local area."

For more information why not visit:- FSB.Org.UK.

Northern ready for timetable change next month

THE UK train operator, Northern, will introduce its new timetable this time next month. The new schedules, introduced from Sunday, 15 May 2022, will focus on delivering reliability and punctuality for customers. On the majority of routes, Northern will maintain service levels established in December last year and some routes will see increased seat capacity and service uplifts.

Chris Jackson, Regional director at Northern said:- "Customers are at the heart of everything we do, and the new timetables are designed to deliver high levels of reliability. We’ve made decisions about our timetables based on the levels of resource we have available and prioritising the routes with the highest customer demand, and which support the Region’s economic growth." 

As part of the new schedule, these are the changes that will be introduced in the area:-

Improved calling patterns at Adlington and Blackrod.

Additional services to Blackpool and Cumbria from July.

Additional services on the Hope Valley line.

Slightly reduced number of services on the Manchester Piccadilly New Mills Central route.

Increased seat capacity on the Settle and Carlisle line.

Chris added:- "We fully understand the role we play in keeping people on the move and I am asking our customers to familiarise themselves with the new timetables, and to check carefully before any journeys to ensure their journeys go as smoothly as possible."

Full details of the new timetables can be found online via the Northern website or at National Rail Enquires.

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