26 January 2011

Hammersmith council 'not interested in us' say local small firms

As the economy contracts, a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reveals that Tory H&F council is failing to engage properly with local business. All the local firms surveyed say the council has never proactively contacted them about local issues and seven in ten have had no contact with the council at all.

Four in ten cite crime in the borough as a key issue.
(Boris Johnson has cut 455 police officers and refuses to guarantee the future of London’s 630 Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams. Labour had a Safer Neighbourhood Team in every ward and increased the police's numbers.)

Local firms particularly object to parking fees being increased as they need to be able access customers and suppliers. 
(The cost of parking in H&F has rocketed by 65 per cent, despite Labour councillors arguing that this was the wrong time to increase the cost of visiting residents and businesses.)

The FSB says, “It was felt that this [parking fees] was symptomatic of a general lack of interest in the well-being of the local business community.” 

Like the Tory-led government, which the director-general of the CBI yesterday accused of failing to articulate an economic vision for the future, Tory Hammersmith council is clearly failing small firms. Its only economic vision seems to be property development, even though its plans for the Shepherds Bush Market and King Street worry many local businesses.

Firms also told the FSB they want the Council to do more to promote the borough, help with recycling and ensure that businesses are not paying more business rates than necessary through the vigorous promotion of Small Business Rate Relief.

The FSB concludes, We believe that an increase in the Council’s engagement with local businesses would help deliver improvements for local residents, the business community and the development of the economy of west and central London.

Hear, hear.

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