Among the issues discussed by Alan at a meeting with the Federation of Small Businesses was reform of the current business rates system, a matter of major concern for many hard-pressed constituents.
Alan agrees fully with the FSB that business rates urgently need a radical overhaul and much greater simplification, especially as some businesses in the area are paying more in rates than rent, causing great hardship, and for some to wind up their companies, leading to increased unemployment.
Prompter payment of invoices and outstanding bills would provide a further lifeline, and needs more effective enforcement. Also improved access to credit from leading banks and other lenders would be welcome.
However, any reforms will realistically take five years to take full effect, equivalent to the life of the next parliament, so some temporary relief would also be welcome for many firms.