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Next Welsh Government Must Prioritise Sustainability Support for SMEs

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FSB Wales has called for support from the next Welsh Government for Wales’ SMEs to take increasing steps toward sustainability.

Recent research from FSB found that 73% of business owners think that small businesses have a responsibility to help achieve climate change targets – businesses want to take steps to sustainability, but they need support to make changes. Ahead of the Senedd election, FSB Wales has published a manifesto Our Business is Wales – FSB’s Vision for 2021 – 2026 which outlines a number of measures that the next Welsh Government should take to support SMEs in this mission.

Firstly, FSB Wales has called for the next Welsh Government to outline a roadmap towards the transition to electric vehicles. FSB research shows small firms were already looking at a 5-10 years as a realistic time to move to electric vehicles, there is a need for a strategy to shift to such modes for businesses within this timeline. The UK and Welsh governments should look to incentivise this shift by introducing tax incentives or scrappage schemes. At present, the cost of electric vehicles and the lack of charging infrastructure are key barriers for Welsh businesses. This is particularly important as the UK has an ambition to phase out petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2030.

Furthermore, FSB Wales has called for an advice line for SMEs on environmental issues through Business Wales, working with SMEs on the regulatory framework for the environment. Crucially, this support would act as the first port of call for firms who are dealing reducing their carbon footprint and operating within the circular economy.

Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:

“Businesses want to play their part in meeting Wales’ climate change targets but need Welsh Government to support them to do this effectively.

“As we build back from the pandemic, there is an opportunity to ensure that we recover with sustainability as a priority. How businesses seek to take steps on this will look different depending on their sector, industry and individual circumstances. Therefore, FSB has offered some practical solutions that we hope the next Welsh Government will adopt and support SMEs to all play their part in our joined mission for a more sustainable Wales.”