An IBD writes to ask for advice on tracking down assistance for small businesses affected by the FMD crisis

FMD help will appear. Eventually.

Please can you tell me who to contact for help, regarding the current FMD crisis? I have tried my local business rate department, who told me there is nothing they can do, writes an IBD/hire operator situated in an FMD-blighted area.

I have tried BusinessLink who told me there’s no local department to me, and Federation of Small Businesses is more concerned about farmers.

We have produced income data taken from our accounts.

March 99 £15 900

March 2000 £16 000

March 2001 £6000

As you can see I would like to speak to someone regarding this matter but I

cannot find anybody, please help.

My advice is to persevere. To track down information for the FMD stories I have been calling 8 or 10 numbers and normally get sent around the houses before finally alighting on a nugget of genuine information. National agencies pass you on to local agencies who pass you back to national agencies.

In effect, its still early days and it’s going to take time for national dictats to filter down to the local level.

As time goes on, the local agencies will be better briefed and will start to know what they are meant to do and what help is on offer. My advice to any business adversely affected by FMD and not all are, whisper it but some are clearly benefitting from the crisis is to write to as many local agencies as you can, copying the letter to your MP and local chamber of commerce. Once the local agencies (such as BusinessLinks) are geared up to help, at least your application for help has been lodged, and lodged early.

Track down any regional FMD taskforce via your local business regeneration agency and make sure they know youre hurting. A collective letter from a bunch of IBDs and associated businesses would have a greater impact.

Send its-not-just-farmers-affected-by-FMD letters to your local rates office and Customs & Excise. Apply for every ‘payment holiday’ going. Quiz your bank on what measures they offer, or will be offering, to affected businesses.

And please copy BikeBiz and ACT (and BA if a member) with all correspondence. For our industry to have a national voice on FMD compensation/support, we need to be able to supply statistics and case studies.

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