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Councils 'failing over swine flu'

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A small business lobby group claims local authorities are failing in their duty to help firms prepare for swine flu.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said it issued the warning after learning that councils were obliged to help businesses put in place measures to deal with outbreaks of infections as part of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

The FPB says it is not aware that any members had received any support or guidance on swine flu from their local authorities.

FPB Policy Representative Matt Goodman said: “Small businesses pay their hefty business rates for one reason - in exchange for the services and infrastructure provided by their council - so you would expect them to be given a little bit of guidance at this critical time.

“Swine flu could prove to be a major headache for thousands of small firms who don’t have the workforce to absorb staff sicknesses, so it is vitally important that they are given every possible bit of help to see them through it.

“While there may be some local authorities out there fulfilling their obligations under the [Civil Contingencies] Act, not one of the business owners who have been calling us have received any guidance or support from their councils. Instead they are coming to the FPB for advice.”

The FPB said it had made the Local Government Association aware of its concerns and was awaiting a response.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • That’s certainly not the case everywhere. On the link below, Steve Grogan, Head of Birmingham City Council’s Resilience Team, explains just how Birmingham City Council is working with the business community to tackle the swine flu pandemic.

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