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Newcastle upon Tyne Liberal Democrats

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February 8, 2009 7:25 PM

The Liberal Democrats have launched a region wide small business survey.

A total of 5,000 small businesses in the North East will be asked their views on the recession and the extent of the problems they feel they are likely to face in 2009.

The survey was launched from 'Lynchgate News', a small business owned by John McClurey in Gateshead, with Newcastle MEP Fiona Hall, Councillor John Shipley, leader of Newcastle City Council, and Councillor Carol Woods, from Durham City, attending.

Councillor Shipley explained what Newcastle City Council are doing to help businesses out of trouble.

"Supporting small businesses is critically important during a recession," he said.

"Newcastle City Council is paying invoices more quickly to increase the cash flow of small businesses.

"We are also publicising heavily the existence of small business rate relief because we reckon £1million is unclaimed in Newcastle."

Fiona Hall, who has helped many local small North East businesses in her role as an MEP, added: "This survey gives us the opportunity to speak with local small businesses face to face and hear firsthand their business concerns for the coming year.

"Small businesses are the heart and soul of the British economy, but they could also be one of the heaviest casualties should the recession be long and drawn out.

"We will be presenting our findings to the Government, so they can take evidence-based action to help these businesses stay afloat in 2009."

Councillor Carol Woods, who runs her own small business in Durham, and who has been conducting her own Small Business Survey in Durham City, said: "Having spoken to about 20 small businesses on Friday, it is obvious that the Government needs to do more to help businesses through this economic crisis."