I’m packing my bags for the last party conference of the season at the weekend and reflecting on a second week of fringe events, debates and networking, this time with the Conservatives.
The conferences may all have different ideals and strategies, but one thing I’ve found they have in common so far is the lack of chairs when you just want a quiet corner for a chat. I managed to commandeer a couple of seats for a conversation at the end of a reception desk the week before, and found a handy table on the top floor of Birmingham’s International Conference Centre, where I was able to camp out for several meetings – improvisation at its best.
While I’m hoping that the MPs will take note of the campaign’s aims and look to include consume choice in their manifestos ready for the election next year, I was delighted to find during one meeting that the Federation of Small Businesses is already adding their voice.
The FSB has drawn up its own cross-party Business Manifesto with a series of proposals it believes the next Government, whoever it may be, should adopt to spark sustainable economic growth. And Keep Me Posted is in it! The Business Manifesto specifically calls upon the next Government to support the campaign, saying small firms should have the choice to receive key information by post rather than just online, without financial penalty.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that small businesses are consumers too – but of course they still receive bills and statements in the same way as a personal householder. And with one telecoms company charging a small business £6 a month for an itemised bill, that’s a heavy burden when working with tight profit margins.
The FSB has almost 200,000 members – so that’s a lot of voices added to our message that customers just want the choice. Hope the party manifesto writers are listening!