Most small firms shunned from devolution talks

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling for local authorities in England to become more accountable and transparent when it comes to economic growth and business support.

A survey on 1,801 small business owners found the majority (70%) support the idea of giving more powers to local authorities, while 64% believe devolution deals will be good for their business.

However, only 15% have been consulted on the devolution process in their area, suggesting most businesses are generally being excluded.

57% felt they couldn’t contribute to ongoing decision making and 53% said there were no means to hold locally-elected bodies to account.

Mike Cherry, national chairman at FSB, said:

“The success of devolution deals will hinge on effective collaboration between new and existing local leaders. 

“Combined authorities must clearly demonstrate how they are promoting growth and establish channels through which they can be held accountable. 

“With new devolution proposals in the pipeline, future deals must be established on the basis of need.”

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