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FSB: Industrial Strategy is a ‘good start for region’

Particular focus must be on how to boost the output of the nation’s 120,000 small firms, said Graham Buck, regional chairman of the FSB in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

The organisation is keen to play its part in the review, he added. The FSB is also looking forward to the review of export strategy, which Westminster expects to conclude in the spring. 

Responding to the release of the government’s Industrial Strategy white paper Building a Britain fit for the future, Mr Buck said: “The publication marks the first phase of the journey to improve the UK’s productivity, leading to sustained wage growth and an improvement in living standards – but it is essential we quickly move on to phase two.  

“This is a good start but to have a sustained and game-changing impact on the economy, the focus needs to be on how to improve productivity across the region’s 120,000 small businesses.

"FSB is keen to take part in the announced review into improving the productivity and growth of small and medium-sized businesses.

“Exporting is key to driving up the productivity of small businesses and therefore we welcome the review of export strategy, reporting in Spring 2018. One in five of our members already export and there is the potential to double that number if the right support is put in place. 

“We had pushed for more help for SMEs in the Autumn Budget, and hopefully this process will lead to that help being provided. Any review of exporting must prioritise small businesses and not disproportionately focus on larger ones.”

Mr Buck was also very clear that the Local Enterprise Partnerships  in the region have an important part to play in helping businesses to reach their potential.

He said: “We welcome the commitment to improving the governance, accountability and transparency of our LEPs. We also welcome the commitment that all small businesses in the region have access to a local growth hub.

“Given the recent, unhelpful level of churn in the business support landscape since the demise of Business Link, we welcome the commitment to build on this programme and continuation of funding.

“Small businesses provide 60% of all private sector employment in the region and have a critical role to play in offering good work and helping those furthest from the labour market to find high-quality employment.” 

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