SMEs’ chance to grill candidates

THE FederAtion of Small Businesses (FSB) will call on candidates from all political parties to cut red tape and rebalance the economy at a hustings debate in Yorkshire next week.

The FSB is holding an event in Leeds, where business owners can quiz some of the candidates standing in the General Election.

It will be run in the style of BBC TV’s Question Time, and the candidates will be asked to describe how they would help small firms to keep growing. FSB West Yorkshire regional chairman, Neil Kendall said: “The Business Question Time event is an excellent opportunity to have a lively and informative debate where businesses can learn more about the policies of six of the parties standing in the General Election.

“It’s also a chance for business owners to get to know more about the candidates who are standing for them across West Yorkshire.”

The FSB’s hustings event will take place at 6.30pm on Monday, April 13 at Leeds Town Hall. The event is part of the FSB’s national #ibacksmallbusiness campaign which asks all politicians to pledge their support for private businesses in the UK which qualify as small or medium-sized enterprises. The parties that will be represented at the event are Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the Green Party and Yorkshire First.

The FSB wants the next Government to deliver a sustained recovery by backing a UK Small Business Alliance, improving access to finance for start-up and existing businesses, and supporting the development and expansion of UK exports.

The FSB is also calling for investment in major road and air transport infrastructure, and it is encouraging Local Government to make use of discretionary rate relief powers. It also wants to create high quality jobs – by making it easier for small firms to employ more people and improving the quality of apprenticeships.

The FSB is calling for action to lower the costs of doing business – through tax simplification, smarter regulation and reduced compliance costs. It also wants more action to tackle crime and cyber-crime.

Mr Kendall said: “The small business community is the lifeblood of the West Yorkshire economy – they create local jobs, pay their rates locally for re-investment in local communities and they support other local businesses by trading with them.

“That is why it is absolutely vital that all of those who seek to serve us are given the chance to hear and talk about the issues that matter most to small business owners and the people they employ.

“We’re expecting a lively and informative debate. Apart from enabling local business leaders to understand more about each party’s views on the issues that matter most to small businesses, the hustings event provides a great opportunity for local businesses to listen to a broad variety of views from across the political spectrum.”

The event is free to attend and it will take place in the Albert Room at Leeds Town Hall.

It will be chaired by Greg Wright, The Yorkshire Post’s deputy business editor.

Registration opens at 6.15pm and light refreshments will be provided before the debate starts at 6.45pm.

The event will close at 8.30pm.

Places for the event are limited. You do not need to be a member of the FSB to attend.

Anyone who wants to attend must register in advance by going to or by emailing Lyndsey Whitaker on [email protected]