A new report places London as the seventh worst city for small businesses to operate in.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and London First have launched the ‘Small Businesses Cities Burden Index’, comparing 24 cities around the world.
London was ranked as the seventh worse because of its high costs and poor infrastructure compared to other global cities.
London Assembly Labour group economy spokeswoman Fiona Twycross AM, said: “Small and medium size enterprises are the drivers of innovation and they employ more than half of all London’s private sector workers.
”The report is a reminder that we need to do more to help these businesses grow, including introducing targeted tax cuts for SMEs while also reforming the banks and getting them lending to small businesses who really need it.
“This report should also act as a wake-up call for the Mayor, who has forced up costs in London with year-on-year above inflation fare hikes.
“He has also failed to tackle the housing crisis that has made London more unaffordable for those on low and middle incomes.
“This report shows that high costs and poor infrastructure are holding London back as a place to do business.
“The Mayor will lobby Brussels to protect bankers’ bonuses, but when it comes to the day to day cost of operating in London the Mayor has done little to help the average worker or small or medium sized enterprise.”
Fiona Twycross is a London-wide Assembly Memberand the Labour London Assembly spokeswoman for the economy.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and London First report is on: http://www.fsb.org.uk/policy/
(Source: London Assembly Labour group press release)
START A BUSINESS WITH A £10,000 LOAN
Loans ranging from £2,500 to £10,000 are available to help entrepreneurs start a business.
The Start Up Loans Company is funded by the Government to provide the loans, along with expert mentors who will help business owners in the crucial early months.
Loans are repayable over five years at a fixed rate of 6% interest.
For more information go to www.startuploans.co.uk.
(Source: Lewisham council press release)
NEW CODE OF PRACTICE TO TACKLE STOLEN GOODS
A new code of practice has been launched by Lewisham council and Lewisham Police to tackle the sale of stolen goods in the borough.
The new scheme will see second-hand retailers – in particular money loan stores and mobile phone kiosks – targeted to sign up to a voluntary code of practice which will increase security measures around the buying and selling of second-hand goods like mobile phones, jewellery, game consoles, iPads and laptops.
Under the code, retailers will have to carry out proper checks when purchasing second-hand goods from members of the public; ensuring that two forms of photographic identification are asked for, checked and recorded accurately.
This will enable the police to identify lost and stolen goods and make it harder for thieves to sell-on stolen goods.
Retailers that sign up to the scheme will be able to verify if goods have been reported lost or stolen by checking them against the details held on the CheckMend website.
For each check carried out, the retailer will receive a certificate to confirm that the goods were checked with CheckMend.
Officers from the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit, Lewisham police with support from Lewisham council’s trading standards service, will be visiting traders across Lewisham in October to endorse and implement the scheme.
- Neighbourhood Community Safety Service: Central Locality Team
- 020 8314 7531
- (Source: Lewisham council press release)
RETAILER FINED £12,000 FOR SELLING ILLEGAL TOBACCO
A Catford retailer has been fined £12,000 for selling illegal tobacco.
The retailer was caught out when Lewisham council’s trading standards team inspected the property and became suspicious about a sale of cigarettes being made to a customer.
Further enquiries revealed that the cigarettes were labelled in Polish and a search of the premises found large amounts of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco with no English safety warnings.
In total, officers seized 15,000 cigarettes and over 5kg of hand rolling tobacco. Evidence was also obtained that suggested at least 71,000 similar cigarettes had previously been supplied along with a further 30kg of hand rolling tobacco.
The retailer was fined by Greenwich magistrates court after pleading guilty to three different charges brought by Lewisham council under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
The court imposed a fine of £4,000 for each offence totalling £12,000, costs of £762 and a victim surcharge of £120. A forfeiture order for destruction of the seized items was also granted to Lewisham Council.
Lewisham council, the police and HM Customs, carry out targeted raids on premises considered to be selling illegal tobacco. Any proprietor found to stock or sell these will be liable to prosecution.
Illegal tobacco can be reported anonymously by phoning the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0845 404 0506. (Source: Lewisham council press release)
APPRENTICE WINNER LAUNCHES CROYDON BUSINESS MONTH
Winner of the first series of The Apprentice, Tim Campbell, is to launch the first in a programme of events supporting and celebrating business in Croydon this month.
Croydon Business Month will start on 30 October at the Bright Ideas Trust event Your Lightbulb Moment to be held at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon.
Mr Campbell, who set up the Bright Ideas Trust, will be one of the key speakers.
It will be followed by a series of seminars, conferences and workshops throughout November, which is being organised by the council, along with partners including NatWest, Develop Croydon, Barclays, GLE Group and SME Consortium.
They will provide support to budding entrepreneurs looking to start up business in Croydon, and to established small and medium enterprises that want to develop their business.
Events scheduled include:-
- We Mean Business Expo – more than 100 local businesses exhibiting and networking at the Fairfield Halls, 10am-2pm, 7 November
- Croydon Congress – leaders in Croydon from the public, business and voluntary sectors come together at Croydon College, 10am-2pm, 7 November
- GLE/NatWest business plans surgery – an introduction to business planning at Matthews Yard, 9am-12.30pm, 11 November
- Develop Croydon conference, with guest speaker Deputy Mayor of London Kit Malthouse at the Fairfield Halls, all day, 13 November
- Dragon’s Den – pitch your ideas to business and finance experts at the Weatherill Business Centre in Whitestone Way, 3 December
Cllrr Vidhi Mohan, cabinet member for communities and economic development, said: “This month is about supporting businesses to help them grow, and in particular encouraging and inspiring young people to make their business ideas happen.
“We want budding entrepreneurs to know that Croydon is a place that means business.”
For a full list of events visit www.croydon.gov.uk/
(Source: Croydon council press release)
UNIQUE RATE DEAL ‘UNBELIEVABLY HELPFUL’ FOR BUSINESSES
Croydon council says new businesses in Croydon have been given a head start thanks to their rate relief scheme.
A total of 66 new jobs are to be created from the four latest businesses to move to the town centre and sign up to the business rate discount scheme.
Just Falafel, a new vegetarian restaurant based in Norfolk House, Croydon
Gelatos, a family-run dessert/ice cream parlour, run by Homecroft Trading in Centrale which has expanded from its current branch in Lewisham
Chickidee Homeware, a gift/homeware shop in the Whitgift shopping centre, with premises in Crawley and Woking
Sweet Patisserie, which has moved from Kensington & Chelsea to George Street
“The scheme is a unique initiative where the council is offering small and medium-sized businesses discounts to their business rates of up to 65 per cent” said a Croydon council spokesman.
“It enables eligible businesses to offset one of the biggest costs of running a shop or office.”
The scheme is being funded through the Mayor of London’s Regeneration Fund that is in total contributing over £23 million to regeneration initiatives in Croydon.
Eligible businesses moving into premises in central Croydon with an annual rateable value of £12,500 or above stand to save tens of thousands of pounds on their business rates for up to two years.
Cabinet member for communities and economic development, Cllr Vidhi Mohan, said: “We launched this scheme to create jobs, fill empty shop space and invest in the local economy.
“It is fantastic that retailers and traders are choosing Croydon as a place to do business and are reaping the excellent benefits of this scheme.”
To find out more about the scheme visit http://www.croydon.gov.uk/business/businessrates/businessratescheme/ or call 020 8760 5503.
WHAT THE BUSINESSES SAY
Joe Chandler, owner of Chickidee Homeware, said: “The business rate relief scheme has been unbelievably helpful.
“It’s enabled us to not only get into the unit – which would have been stretching us – but it’s enabled us to take on the right amount of staff and get our product mix right straight away, and increase sales.
“We’ve gone from having a really low amount of staff to recruiting six new members over the next year as a direct consequence of the scheme. It’s great for providing employment.”
Ashendra Liyanage, owner of Just Falafel, said: “The business rate relief scheme is an excellent idea and a big help.
“Croydon is a busy commercial town with a diverse mix of people.
“I could have chosen Leeds or Bradford, “I was offered somewhere in Canary Wharf, but I chose Croydon.
“There’s a very large office crowd here. So there’s a good market for quick and fast food, especially at lunchtimes.
“We now have plans to open four more across the borough, which will create 60 jobs.”
Marcin Niezgoda, director of Sweet Patisserie, said: “Thanks to this scheme we can expand our business and increase employment levels.
“Cost is a concern in any business decision, especially if the present facilities don’t serve the needs of the expanding business.
“Substantial discounts on business rates have lowered our company cost and improved cash flow.”
He added: “The main reason why we have decided to move to Croydon was the desire to reach new market.
“The town has become an important centre for shopping and has a diverse economy with service and retail sectors.”
Salman Alam, director of Homecroft Trading, which runs Gelatos ice-cream/dessert parlour, said: “This scheme has given us a running start and enabled us to open.
“It’s also meant we’re able to invest more in the store.
“The biggest cost for any business is opening. If businesses can open up, in the long run more stores will still be there.” (Source: Croydon council press release)