By Daniel Hunter

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) 39th Annual Conference will see a cross-party line up of speakers when it hits Leicester this March.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable MP and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson MP, will tell FSB members that economic growth is their priority.

Also addressing the 600+ delegates will be Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Business Secretary, where he will outline how Labour would help grow small businesses and promote entrepreneurship across the country — especially as it falls only a few days after the Budget.

The ever-popular surgery session will give FSB members the chance to raise their concerns with Small Business Minister, Michael Fallon MP and Shadow Small Business Minister, Toby Perkins MP. And small business owners will also have the chance to fire questions at local MPs on a Question Time style panel.

Hosted by financial journalist Naga Muchetty, the two day event will see a new National Chairman elected to head the Federation of Small Businesses as John Walker comes to the end of his three year tenure.

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “FSB Annual Conference is a very important event in the calendar. I am pleased that we have such a strong line-up of political speakers at my last conference. With the event taking place just two days after the Budget, small firms will be keen to hear just what is being done to help them invest and grow. We know that small firms want to grow and continue to show resilience and this will be the forum where small firms can hold their leaders to account.”

Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “Small businesses have a major role to play in the country’s economic recovery and the Government is doing all it can to help businesses grow. In Defra, we are focussing on creating growth in our sectors, promoting exports, investing in infrastructure and removing regulatory and other barriers to growth.

“We are delivering the best superfast broadband connection in Europe and, through investing £165 million specifically for rural businesses, we are helping rural entrepreneurs make their business plans a reality. Recognising the devastating effects that flooding had on businesses, we’re now spending £2.3 billion on flood prevention that will also bring significant economic benefits and investor confidence. Through the Red Tape Challenge on environmental regulation we should save businesses £1 billion over the next five years.”

Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Business Secretary said: “I am pleased to be attending and speaking at the FSB’s 2013 Annual Conference in Leicester this March and am very much looking forward to the event.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and they play a vital role in our prospects for recovery. But at the same time, the current economic climate is still very challenging for small firms across Britain.

“I look forward to hearing from small businesses first-hand about their experiences and discussing how we can do more to back small businesses and celebrate the risk takers and job creators in our society.”

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