A North West telecoms chief has headed a delegation of small business leaders on a visit to the European Parliament in Brussels.
At the invitation of North West MEP Sajjad Karim, Abbey Telecom’s Tony Raynor led 26 members from the Lancashire and Cumbria Federation of Small Businesses and Lancashire Chambers of Commerce to the heart of the EU.
The group was given the opportunity to find out more about the EU’s parliamentary process, its working practices and the work of MEPs.
As part of the visit, they spent a day in the European Parliament and were able to discuss with Sajjad some of the issues faced by the business community and the amount of red tape which they say often hinders the ability of small business.
“This was a hugely beneficial and enlightening delegation and we’re really grateful to Sajjad for setting it up,” said the Abbey Telecom managing director. “It gave the group a much stronger idea of the benefits of EU membership in relation to UK trade and industry and as a platform from which to compete in international markets.
“It also gave us the chance to speak to policy makers about improving the law-making process across the EU and reducing red tape and legislative barriers which affect SMEs here. The UK can influence change best if we are cohesive in our dealings with fellow European members.”
Sajjad Karim MEP added: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and are the agents for economic growth. Collectively they are major employers who are affected on a day to day basis by EU legislation.
“My work as Legal Affairs spokesperson is centred on cutting red tape to reduce the legislative burden for SMEs. I wanted to foster a better understanding of our relationship with Europe and for people to experience first-hand some of the mechanics of the EU and see for themselves the work I undertake representing the North West in the European Parliament.
“A key example is that the Smart Regs I authored and that were passed by the Parliament last September mean that now all micro enterprises are excluded from future EU legislation unless it can be proven there is a definitive benefit.”
The group also had briefings from the FSB’s Policy Advisor on EU and International Affairs, a representative from the Belgian Embassy and UKDTI, arranged by the North and West Lancashire Chamber.
It is currently time consuming for smaller businesses to ensure they meet the requirements of all of the legislation coming out of Brussels affecting health and safety, employment or operational issues.
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