I recently attended a breakfast organised by the Federation of Small Business, where representatives of small and medium sized businesses in the local area could talk to me about the most pressing issues facing them at the moment. A few important points came up: one was the Business Link system, which was criticised for being difficult to access, and for duplicating what is already being offered by other services. One businessman expressed his frustration at the bureaucracy and cost associated with Energy Performance Certificates, and another raised the issue of non-domestic rates levied on vacant commercial properties. I have written to three Government Ministers and one officer at Buckinghamshire County Council about these issues.
I also recently visited Barclays Bank in Aylesbury, to meet the manager and business team there, and to see what help they are giving to local businesses, particularly in terms of providing finance. I am currently setting up meetings with the other local banks to do the same with them. I have told the FSB members that I will pass on any concerns about finance they have.