OF SMALL BUSI­NESSES New chair­man hop­ing to give smaller firms a big­ger voice

Stockport Times West - - FEDERATION -

MY name is Si­mon Ed­mond­son, and this is my first col­umn as the FSB’s re­gional chair­man for the Manch­ester and North Cheshire re­gion fol­low­ing our AGM vote last week.

The first thing I want to say is a mas­sive thank you to the for­mer chair, Richard Gregg, who has worked tire­lessly for the fed­er­a­tion and its mem­bers for 14 years, but who has stood down to let fresh blood take over.

While Richard has set the bar high, and will cer­tainly be a hard act for me to follow, it is my aim to con­tinue his good work in the re­gion, lob­by­ing those in po­si­tions of power to make the lives of small business own­ers that bit eas­ier, and rais­ing aware­ness of is­sues which af­fect all en­trepreneurs and ef­fect change.

Look­ing ahead, I’ve picked a great year to take up the reigns.

Not only have we got the Gen­eral Elec­tion loom­ing in May – around which the FSB al­ready has a num­ber of elec­tion hust­ing events planned, in­clud­ing one in Urm­ston and another in Hazel Grove – but the path to suc­cess­ful de­vo­lu­tion for Greater Manch­ester will also be­gin in earnest, and I want to make sure that it de­liv­ers for all our mem­bers and the en­tire small business com­mu­nity.

At a more macro level, there’s also the usual plethora of business is­sues that con­tin­u­ally give our mem­bers cause for con­cern.

One that springs to mind is business rates.

Only this week I was talk­ing to a mem­ber who told me he has been on the Val­u­a­tion Of­fice Agency’s ap­peals wait­ing list for two years, so he’s not even out off the traps yet.

That’s just not good enough, and we will be mak­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tions.

There’s also the thorny is­sue of late pay­ment of in­voices, red tape, lack of the right ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing for em­ploy­ees, and then let’s not for­get those is­sues that are more unique to the re­gion such as high speed rail, and even the state of the roads which are have been sorely ne­glected in th­ese parts.

Th­ese are the ar­eas where I can see the FSB pro­vid­ing a voice for small business own­ers, where alone their voice goes un­heard, but to­gether, we can speak up and be heard.

I am hon­oured to have been given chair­man­ship of the UK’s lead­ing business support or­gan­i­sa­tion here in Greater Manch­ester, a re­gion I be­lieve is one of the most vi­brant and amaz­ing parts of the UK to run a company.

I look for­ward to meet­ing ex­ist­ing mem­bers and wel­com­ing new ones to the FSB fold as we push on in to 2015, and help de­liver change so that small firms can grow and pros­per as the eco­nomic re­cov­ery picks up a pace.

DEAR Elaine, How far back should I trim my dog’s nails? I’m scared that I might hurt her. The best thing to do is to get a tu­to­rial from your vet. It’s im­por­tant not to cut the nails too short, as you could cut the nerve or blood ves­sel that runs down the mid­dle of the nail, which can be painful. This is eas­ier to see in dogs with light or clear nails, but can be hard to spot if the nails are dark. Once you are con­fi­dent about where and how to clip your dog’s nails, you can do this any time at home. Re­mem­ber to make sure the nail clip­per is sharp though – a blunt one can crush the nail and be painful, which could put your dog off ever hav­ing nails clipped again.

For more de­tails on PDSA Pet Aid Ser­vices call 0800 7312502. To do­nate or fundraise visit www.pdsa.org.uk.

Si­mon Ed­mond­son, the new re­gional chair­man for the Manch­ester and North Cheshire branch of the Fed­er­a­tion of Small Busi­nesses

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