New regional team at FSB vows to step up grassroots lobbying on behalf of Swindon’s small firms

January 27, 2018

Small Businesses group the FSB is to boost its grassroots lobbying activity in Swindon and across the South West after appointing a new-look senior team.

Roger Tarrant, pictured right, previously one of the FSB’s branch chairman in the region, has become the first holder of the new wider role of regional chair for the whole of the South West.

Roger, from Cornwall, is joined in the new regional top team by Gloucestershire business telecoms expert Terry Lockwood as the FSB’s first South West national councillor, while Iain Wallis, who runs a marquee company in Devizes, has been appointed as regional policy representative.

Iain said: “I’m really pleased to have been chosen as the new regional policy representative, which will allow me to campaign on the issues which really matter to small businesses in the South West. 

“There are so many concerns for small business at the moment including broadband and mobile connectivity, skills and transport and we are looking forward to actively campaigning on them on behalf of our members.”

Bristol retail consultant Ken Simpson, pictured below, will take on the West of England lead role, covering Bath, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, and Russell Warner, who runs a suite of offices for SMEs near Stroud, is the new lead for Gloucestershire.    

The changes are part of a new national FSB restructure giving a renewed focus on collective campaigning – both from a national and grassroots perspective – across 12 major areas of the UK.

This will be overseen by regional leadership groups made up of key FSB members and staff situated at the local level meaning every country or Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area will also have its own FSB area leader.

Roger Tarrant, a care home owner, said: “I want to ensure that the voice of small businesses across the South West is clearly heard. I look forward to working with our South West team and our members throughout this hotbed of small businesses to ensure we stay at the heart of the local debate and at the forefront of business policy decision-making.”  

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: “Volunteers are crucial to FSB’s success as it’s only by drawing on the experience of our members who run their own small businesses that FSB is able to be such a strong campaigning voice – locally and nationally. Therefore, I want to congratulate Roger, Iain and Terry on their new roles. I know they will be strong advocate for businesses across the South West.” 

He said the FSB was founded to enable grassroots activists to fight for change and last year it enjoyed a number of significant wins for its members, including £6.7bn being taken out of the business rates regime, the scrapping of NICs increases for the self-employed and reforms to Making Tax Digital.

“All sparked by our members being vocal at the local level,” he added.  “Looking forward, we need to increase our focus on effectively mobilising FSB’s grassroots activists. That means creating an environment that’s goal-led, and where any small business owner from any background or walk of life can contribute to the campaigns they care about.

“This restructure is about ensuring all of our members have their voices heard and are equipped with the tools they need to create change.”  

FSB members receive a wide range of business services, including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government.

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