Keep Trade Local: calls for fund to save businessesBy Hugh Fort
November 04, 2008
A business group is campaigning for the Government to create a £1 billion “Small Business Survival Fund” it says could save hundreds of firms from going bust.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which is running the Keep Trade Local campaign supported by The Wokingham Times, wants the fund created so businesses can apply for loans to keep going through the impending recession.
The call has received a mixed response from Wokingham traders.
Mike Flint, co-owner of Wokingham Décor in Peach Street, said: “I think it’s a good idea.
“As my dad says ‘it’s our money anyway’ and for the Government to put forward something that could save things people have worked long and hard on over the years would be a good move.”
But John Piasecki, owner of Hudson Bay in Denmark Street, said: “Introducing something like this would be an administrative nightmare and they would probably spend most of the money on employing people and printing forms.”
The FSB wants the Government to scrap the current Small Firms Loans Guarantee scheme and replace it with the new fund.
The federation says the new fund should be introduced
for six months and then reviewed.
The group also wants tougher legislation to ensure small businesses are not taken advantage of by big chains and wants firms which don’t pay their bills “named and shamed”.
According to the FSB’s research, small businesses who do business with big chains are owed around £30,000 each and the group wants that to change.
Colin Willman, East Berkshire representative for the FSB, said: “Around this area there are a lot of small businesses who work with big businesses.
“When big chains have cash flow problems, they put back when they pay their supplier.
“Thirty days becomes 40, 50, 60 or even 90 days.
“Not having £10,000 could have a huge impact on small businesses.
“This fund could save hundreds of businesses.”
Mr Piasecki added: “Something should be done to make big companies pay on time, I don’t know what, but it has a massive effect.”
John Wright, FSB national chairman, added: “A lot has been made of the rescue package for big banks, but small businesses are at the heart of our economy – employing just under 60 per cent of the private sector workforce.
“A rescue package for small businesses is crucial to shortening the economic downturn and saving jobs.
“Small businesses need innovative and decisive action now as things are hard for them.
“The proposed Small Business Survival Fund will, if the Government takes it up, mean that the millions of small firms in this country will survive the hard times and be able to put our economy back on track.”