Rebecca Taylor to champion the cause of Yorkshire businesses in Europe

Rebecca Taylor, MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, met with members and staff of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and became a Real-Life Entrepreneurs’ Champion for Yorkshire businesses in Europe by signing the FSB’s pledge.

The FSB’s ‘Real Life Entrepreneurs Campaign’ celebrates the achievements of men and women of all ages who have realised their ambitions and started their own business.  The campaign seeks to remove the barriers to starting and running a small business.  Barriers such as access to finance and regulation, which are just two of the many issues that Rebecca Taylor is currently working on in the European Parliament.

By signing the campaign pledge, Rebecca Taylor MEP has agreed to undertake a number of responsibilities, including listening to the concerns of entrepreneurs and representing their interests on a European level.  Rebecca also agreed to support the FSB in its endeavours to get the best deal for Real-Life Entrepreneurs in Yorkshire and the Humber.

To support Rebecca in her role as a Real-Life Entrepreneurs’ Champion Chris Glen, FSB West Yorkshire Regional Chairman and Managing Director of financial services firm AAT Associates Ltd provided examples of the difficulties that small businesses are encountering in accessing finance, particularly those businesses who are growing and looking to export to Europe and worldwide.  Gordon Millward, FSB South and East Yorkshire Chairman and owner of auto electrical business G R Millward Ltd highlighted the many issues that small businesses face in dealing with employment regulation.  Dr Nigel Wilkinson, Chief Executive of a business consultancy services company, Northern Business Associates Ltd, confirmed how businesses are being constrained from growing or expanding by issues which they often have no control over.  There was also a discussion on how businesses across Yorkshire and Humber had been affected by the recent consecutive incidents of flooding.

Rebecca Taylor explained that she would shortly be writing a report for the European Parliament on access to finance for small and medium enterprises.  Rebecca identified some of the schemes that are currently being run in other European countries to aid businesses, such as a scheme in Belgium which provides some taxation relief to firms who employ apprentices, something which is of great interest to the FSB.

The impact of flooding on Yorkshire communities is a concern for Rebecca who was born in Todmorden and resides in Leeds.  Rebecca reported that there was a debate in the European Parliament on civil protection from emergencies such as forest fires and flooding.  The FSB has agreed to assist Rebecca Taylor by providing her with regular information and data, including the impact of flooding on Yorkshire businesses, that she can use in European Parliamentary debates.

On signing the pledge, Rebecca Taylor said: “It is my privilege to be signing up to the ‘Real Life Entrepreneurs Campaign Pledge’.  I am aware just how important it is to support small and medium sized businesses in the region and the country in general.  While each individual business may be small in number, collectively they represent a considerable amount of the UK workforce and are particularly good at taking on the unemployed and disadvantaged.  There is much more support that can be provided for entrepreneurs in Yorkshire and the Humber and I am happy to add my support to making those changes that need to be made.”

FSB West Yorkshire Regional Chairman, Chris Glen said: “Small businesses are vital to our economy and it is imperative that we recognise their importance, so I am pleased that Rebecca has committed to helping us in our cause.  With the Government wanting the private sector to lead the economic recovery, we need to see policies put in place at a local, national and European level that can help businesses to grow.  We also need these policies to give other people the confidence to set-up their own business and become a Real-Life Entrepreneur.


Notes to Editors:

The FSB is the UK’s leading business organisation with more than 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business.

The FSB has approximately 11,000 members in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The FSB has 5,300 members in West Yorkshire.  There are FSB Branches operating in each of the five districts of West Yorkshire: Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.

The FSB members and staff pictured in the photograph with Rebecca Taylor MEP are Chris Glen (FSB West Yorkshire Regional Chairman), Dr Nigel Wilkinson (FSB East Yorkshire Branch Vice-Chairman), Gordon Millward (FSB South and East Yorkshire Regional Chairman), Sietske de Groot (FSB Senior Policy Adviser for EU and International Affairs) and Neville Martin (FSB Development Manager for South and East Yorkshire).

The FSB represents businesses in a broad range of sectors including manufacturing, engineering, business services, creative and digital industries, construction, agriculture, tourism and retail.

The Real Life Entrepreneurs Campaign is a national campaign  The campaign has six key messages for policy-makers:

  • Increase the routes to finance for businesses
  • Improve cash-flow by tackling late payment
  • Adopt a new approach to regulation
  • Reduce and simplify business tax
  • Incentivise job creation
  • Open up export markets
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