Rural firms urgently need Government help
Small firms in rural areas are preparing themselves for a tough Christmas and believe the Government has done little to help them through the economic downturn.
Research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) revealed that nearly 60% of small rural firms are expecting their Christmas trade to be down on this time last year. Four out of five said the Government has done nothing to help them.
FSB national chairman, John Wright, said that rural businesses needed immediate support if they were to survive the economic downturn.
“These figures show that small businesses in rural Britain are the silent victims of the credit crunch,”
“The rural economy needs urgent short–term action to help it beat the squeeze, along with a real commitment to deal with the long–term problems that have plagued the rural economy for so long. If rural firms are not supported now, we could watch our markets, high streets, towns and villages become extinct.” he said.
The FSB has called on the Government to introduce specific measures to help rural entrepreneurs, including free parking for all towns and villages, financial support packages for rural businesses and a long–term commitment to improve transport links in the countryside.
According to the FSB survey, 80% of small rural firms do not feel better placed to weather the downturn following November’s Pre–Budget report, which unveiled a £7 billion package of measures aimed at supporting small businesses.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) insisted that the Government was committed to helping small rural businesses.
“We understand that businesses are facing tough times and we’re taking action to ensure that firms can access the finance they need,”.
“Banks have been recapitalised to enable them to start lending again and in the Pre–Budget Report we have announced a package of support that includes a £1 billion Small Business Finance Scheme, a separate £1 billion guarantee facility to support bank lending to small exporters and a £50 million fund to convert businesses’ debts into equity. he said”
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