Opinion Former Article

FSB Conference 2008 attracts big speakers

Boris Johnson (Conservative), Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat) and Sian Berry (Green Party) will all undergo a grilling in a London Mayoral Question Time session at the Annual Conference of the Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB). Present Mayor Ken Livingstone has also been invited and is expected to attend. The Mayoral Question Time will be independently chaired by the former news presenter, Moira Stuart.

The Conference (13-15 March) will be held at the Novotel Hammersmith. It is expected that Baroness Vadera, the Small Business Minister, will be attending. The Conference has also attracted the Rt. Hon John Redwood MP, Joint Chairman of the Economic Competitiveness Policy Group.

The theme of this, the FSB's 33rd annual conference, will be small businesses and the environment and Dr David Bellamy will be talking on The Ecology of Business. In addition, Tom Delay, the CEO of the Carbon Trust, will also be making a speech.

Conference motions on the agenda include keeping trade local, the Low Emission Zone, school leaving age, rail renationalisation and energy prices. The importance of keeping trade local is also a big topic of concern amongst FSB members, many of whom will travel from all parts of the country in order to converge on London on the eve of Conference for a mass lobby of Parliament.

The environmental theme of the Conference is also reflected in fringe meetings scheduled to take place, to be hosted by Envirowise and by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Delegates will also receive an Audience with Sir Trevor McDonald and a motivational speech from General Sir Mike Jackson, former head of the British Army.

The Conference will be officially opened by the Mayor of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, Councillor Minnie Scott Russell.

John Wright, FSB National Chairman, will be the first keynote speaker at Conference with a speech reflecting the views of small businesses.

John Wright, FSB National Chairman, said:

"It is apt that we have Conference this year in London, considering it is the source of so many changes to hit small businesses over the past twelve months.

"I welcome small businesses to such a buzzing capital city, a reflection of the vibrancy and verve with which so many small businesses continue, despite challenges, to remain the backbone of the UK economy.

"It is also a chance to show just how in tune small businesses are with that ubiquitous term of CSR, corporate social responsibility - which our members know as simply good business practice, and which includes being environmentally aware. With that in mind we are also looking forward to welcoming the Carbon Trust to speak at Conference, which will give us all a chance to think greener."


Notes to Editors:

1. FSB Conference 2008 will take place at the Novotel Hammersmith, 1 Shortlands, London W6 BDR from 13-15 March 2008.

2. The Conference programme can be found at http://www.fsb.org.uk/data/default.asp?id=0&referrer=%2FConference2008%2FDefault%2Easp

3. The main supporter for Conference this year is DELL

4. The Conference will have a fully operational press office. Should you require press accreditation in order to attend please contact the London press office at press@fsb.org.uk

5. Small businesses employ 58% of the private sector workforce, contribute over 50% of UK GDP and make up more than 99% of all UK businesses.

6. The FSB is Britain's biggest business organisation with over 210,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk

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