Have your say in FSB survey on future of the high streets

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling for all SMEs across the UK to take part in its survey on the Future of the High Street.

The FSB survey runs until July 27 and is canvassing opinions from all small businesses, including retailers, on issues such as business rates relief, public transport, parking, access to cash and street cleaning.

The FSB says that high streets are on the brink of transformation and it needs views from SMEs and retailers to help inform future policy. Findings from the survey will be analysed and submitted to the UK national and local governments and devolved administrations to help the UK’s high streets flourish in the future.

FSB policy chair Tina McKenzie said: “I encourage all small businesses in all parts of the UK to spare a few minutes to take part in the Future of the High Street survey. High streets are essential for small businesses, providing a platform for commerce and a sense of community pride, as well as opportunities for social interaction, events, and cultural activities. Sustainable high streets are key to a flourishing small business sector.

“Changes in consumer behaviour as well as huge hi-tech shifts mean that high streets across the UK are rapidly changing. We know that some big household name high street brands have closed, but barbers, nail salons, microbreweries and independent gyms can offer customers a unique experience.”

She concluded: “The more SMEs who take this survey, the more influential our collective voices will be. I say to all our SMEs out there: Let us know what experiences you’re having with business rates, with transport and parking, with access to cash; tell us which changes to your local area you think would create the biggest opportunities for your high streets. It’s a time to reimagine the high street with creative thinking, backed by real public policy.”

The FSB pointed out that consumers value small high street businesses highly and a previous survey it conducted showed that 72% of consumers thought small businesses were more important than large ones when it came to providing unique services and products.

Sweeping aside the misconception that online commerce is a threat to the high street, the FSB says: “The real threats to a flourishing high street are having an archaic business rates system, not taking on board transport and parking provision and a lack of investment in local business support including enabling start-ups and businesses to access finance.”

The forthcoming survey is intended to gather evidence from SMEs on these and other issues.

To take part in the FSB survey, which closes on July 27, click here. There is a chance to win £250 in a prize draw for those who participate in the survey.

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