Matthew Goodman, policy representative, Forum of Private Business (FPB)

High street bakers, already concerned that their trade is being hit by high taxes and the might of large supermarkets, are among the small firms that believe the government is not listening to them.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB), which represents small bakeries across the UK, is pushing for the bi-monthly Small Business Forum to be given a greater say in influencing policy to reflect the needs of its members. It is now urging Prime Minister Gordon Brown to rethink any clamp-down on ’income shifting’, a long-standing practice carried out by many small firms.

Most bakers face the added pressure of the increasing costs of flour, high fuel taxes and health and safety red tape. But the forum provides a rare opportunity to lobby directly the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR), and the Competitiveness Minister Stephen Timms.

The next few months will be critical, as the Government drafts its Enterprise Framework, and the Small Business Forum must play a role in deciding how that framework is to be implemented. Provided that the right changes are made, there is a real opportunity to give the forum - and the small firms it represents - a very real say in shaping the next 10 years of enterprise policy.