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January 04, 2013

Small firms have become "disenfranchised" from politicians, says FPB

In a straight-talking New Year's message, Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business (FPB), has called on the Government and the banks to better serve small firms in 2013.

He said: "Small business owners are becoming disenfranchised from politicians. PR and spin has become the order of the day, with announcements made months ahead of implementation, commitments which have remained undelivered and a blatant focus on large businesses, without there being adequate mechanisms for holding such businesses to account on tax, late payment and social responsibility."

Despite fears of a triple-dip recession, Orford said many small business owners "possess the courage and creativity to progress despite adverse trading conditions".

He continued: "What we need during 2013 is a clear national economic strategy which maintains a focus on deficit reduction, lower borrowing and an improvement in our balance of payments, whilst mapping out a visionary approach to medium- and long-term enterprise-friendly policies to give all business the confidence to invest."

Orford also called on the banks to raise their game. "For too long now, the economy has struggled due to a lack of affordable credit being available to businesses and consumers. Despite a number of Government initiatives, the main banks continue to disable growth by applying unreasonable criteria to their assessments of risk and creditworthiness."

He added: "They are institutionally risk-averse, anti-competitive and fail to grasp the scale of the damage they have done, and continue to do. More radical action must be taken to force change now, rather than in years to come".