Small firms want role recognised in Localism Bill

Pam Charman overall FSB Chairman for Hertfordshire
Pam Charman overall FSB Chairman for Hertfordshire

SMALL businesses in Hertfordshire are calling on the government to fully reflect the needs of entrepreneurs in a bill making its way through parliament.

The Localism Bill aims to shift power from central government back to local communities as part of David Cameron’s Big Society philosophy.

But the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) wants the bill to better recognise the role of small businesses.

FSB Hertfordshire chairman Pam Charman said: “The aims of the Localism Bill are clear, but there are many issues that need to be addressed while it is still being debated and before it is enshrined in law. We call for MPs to amend the bill to ensure that the needs of local businesses are fully reflected.”

One of the issues is that businesses at risk of closure like pubs and post offices could be placed on community right to buy lists.

The FSB believes this could mean properties being devalued and that potential buyers could be deterred from buying.

Pam Charman added: “We want to see the Bill amended so that any community group that wants to place a property on the list should have to demonstrate the willingness and ability to buy it.”

The Localism Bill is due to receive its second reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday, June 7. It has already been through the Commons on its way to receiving Royal Assent.

The FSB also wants local authorities to be held to account by Local Enterprise Partnerships if they fail to co-operate on key issues such as transport and planning across boundaries.