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Fylde coast business leader urges time for 'SME tsar'

The BIBAs awards ceremony at Blackpool Tower Ballroom
The BIBAs awards ceremony at Blackpool Tower Ballroom

A business leader has urged small firms to give a recently-appointed “tsar” time to turn the tide in their favour.

But, Blackpool-based small business owner Dawn Cheetham admits that Paul Uppal, the government-backed small business commissioner, needs to start delivering sooner rather than later.

A recent study showed that just 16.2 per cent of small businesses felt the appointment would benefit their business while almost 42 per cent felt it would have no benefit.

Dawn Cheetham, the managing director of Commercial Kitchen Services in Cornford Road, said: “In theory, the appointment of an ombudsmen with the powers to act on the things which prevent small business growth, should be a hugely positive step towards helping them thrive and grow.

“In reality, there is a major battle to convince business owners that this appointment is not just another in a long line of such promises from Government.

“Mr Uppal is just three months in to his new role, so I think it is fair he is given more time, but small businesses will be looking for some concrete actions from him soon.”

The research, carried out by finance group Close Brothers, showed 26.1 per cent of firms wanted the commissioner to focus on providing additional support for small businesses and 15.2 per cent wanted him to concentrate on tackling late payments.

A further 15 per cent called for the priority to be providing support to small firms in disputes with larger businesses.

CKS is sponsoring the Micro-Business of the Year award at this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, one of Lancashire’s leading business awards.

The awards closed for applications earlier this month and will begin its first round of judging with face-to- face interviews in its 18 prize categories from May 14.

Fox Brothers, which is headquartered in Poulton-le- Fylde, was the winner of the Construction Business of the Year, with Blackburn non-profit making body, Community and Business Partners, winning the Third Sector of the Year category.

For full details of the awards, visit its official website at www.thebibas.co.uk.