Denise Craig: Think small at the election
May 20 2009 By Denise Craig
On June 4, the UK electorate will decide who represents UK interests in the European Parliament.
The FSB is calling on all European election candidates to “Think Small First” and remember that small businesses have a vital role to play in reversing economic meltdown and tackling climate change.
We want all the candidates to make it clear to voters how they would help small businesses survive, generate employment and pull us out of the recession.
Here at the FSB, we have some practical suggestions for things we want them to do if elected. They include a moratorium on legislation, delaying all new employment and business legislation during the recession.
We’d like to see an increase in access to finance, ensuring the £4 billion European Union rescue package reaches small businesses.
We’d also like to see more than just the high street banks get the European Investment Bank monies – the Regional Development Agencies should also apply for funds from the EIB to help struggling small businesses.
Also, MEPs should encourage the UK Government to draw down any EU funds that have been made available.
And the green agenda must not be overlooked in the current difficulties.
We would like to see new incentives and tax breaks to promote the growth of the green economy.
Whatever shape the recovery takes, one thing is certain: our use of resources will become increasingly important to us all.
In the past it was our small businesses that led the recoveries – I am sure they will do the same again this time. But we need to make sure they are given support from every quarter.
The European Parliament and their MEPs have a significant part to play in providing a good deal of that support in helping to remove the obstacles that originate from Europe.
It would be naive of the FSB to expect the electorate to overlook the recent furore over MPs expenses and understand that many voters will use the European elections to protest about parliamentarians’ behaviour. That is their democratic right.
But we hope voters are more responsible than some of our elected representatives and will look to cast their vote so that we get people who can really work for a better future for us all, through championing the cause of small businesses and making sure whatever is enacted in the next European Parliament, helps and does not hinder.
* Denise Craig is the West Midlands policy manager for the FSB