Council must pay up on time to small firmsBy Lucy Allen
December 01, 2008
Pressure is growing for councils and banks to pull out all the stops to help small businesses survive the credit crunch.
At a meeting of Bracknell Forest Council held last Wednedsay, Councillor Mike Beadsley asked the council to reduce its payment period for invoices from 30 days to 20 days.
His request follows a concerted campaign by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which has asked all councils to make such a pledge as part of its Keep Trade Local campaign being supported by The Standard and its sister papers.
Cllr Beadsley said: “The credit crunch means everybody who can should try and help to overcome the problem of small businesses and local residents who may be struggling.
“One way the council can help is by making sure that in its dealings with local businesses, it is a prompt payer.
“Other local authorities are doing things to help.”
The FSB is also calling for bank branch managers to be held to account for their treatment of small businesses, after small firms identified accessing finance from banks as the biggest barrier to their growth.
It wants branch managers to foster closer relationships with their business customers.
Mary Flavelle, FSB East Berkshire chairwoman, said: “The figures show that small businesses thrive on personal relationships when seeking support such as marketing, recruitment and access to finance.
“However, there is evidence that new and growing firms, which require finance from their banks, are experiencing barriers to accessing funds and therefore not getting the same sort of close contact with their banks.”