The FSB has chosen a new-look senior team to head up the group’s local grassroots lobbying activity in the South West.
Following a special meeting in Taunton, Roger Tarrant, who was previously one of the FSB’s branch chairman, has now become the first holder of the new wider role of Regional Chair for the whole of the South West.
Roger (pictured below), a care home owner from Cornwall, said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed to this key role and want to ensure that the voice of small businesses across the South West is clearly heard. I look forward to working with our South West team and our members throughout this hotbed of small businesses to ensure we stay at the heart of the local debate and at the forefront of business policy decision-making.”
Roger’s new position is part of a new national FSB restructure which will see a renewed focus on collective campaigning, both from a national and grassroots perspective across 12 major areas of the UK, overseen by Regional Leadership Groups, made up of key FSB members and staff situated at the local level.
Every country/LEP area will also have its own FSB Area Leader with leaders chosen for Devon (Michael Green and Greg Page-Turner), Gloucestershire (Russell Warner), the West of England (Ken Simpson), Somerset & Wiltshire (Bini Ludlow and Mary Webb) and Cornwall (Roger Tarrant and Edward Chapman).
Roger is joined on the new regional top table by Gloucestershire telecoms consultant Terry Lockwood who is the FSB’s first South West National Councillor, and Iain Wallis, from Wiltshire, who has been appointed as the FSB Regional Policy Representative.
Iain, who runs a marquee company in Devizes, said: “I’m really pleased to have been chosen as the new Regional Policy Representative which will allow me to campaign on the issues which really matter to small businesses in the South West.
“There are so many concerns for small business at the moment including broadband and mobile connectivity, skills and transport and we are looking forward to actively campaigning on them on behalf of our members.”
Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: “Volunteers are crucial to FSB’s success as it’s only by drawing on the experience of our members who run their own small businesses that FSB is able to be such a strong campaigning voice – locally and nationally. Therefore, I want to congratulate Roger, Iain, Terry and all the Area Leads on their new roles. I know they will be strong advocate for businesses across the South West.
“FSB was founded to enable grassroots activists to fight for change. As we look back over the last year, we can celebrate a number of significant wins for our members – £6.7 billion taken out of the business rates regime, the scrapping of NICs increases for the self-employed and reforms to Making Tax Digital – all sparked by our members being vocal at the local level.”
“Looking forward, we need to increase our focus on effectively mobilising FSB’s grassroots activists. That means creating an environment that’s goal-led, and where any small business owner from any background or walk of life can contribute to the campaigns they care about.
“This restructure is about ensuring all of our members have their voices heard and are equipped with the tools they need to create change. That is, after all, where FSB has its roots.”