Business ‘no’ to fees

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More than 1,000 businesses in West Lindsey have been quizzed about the possibility of charging for public protection services.

lthough businesses said they valued the services currently provided by West Lindsey District Council, they had no appetite to pay for it.

The telephone survey carried out by the Red Snapper Group consulted 1,019 businesses.

Chairman of the licensing and regulatory committee at West Lindsey District Council, Jessie Milne, said: “We, like all councils nationally, are under pressure to make savings and find new sources of income because of the dwindling grants from central government.

“The telephone survey was to establish if businesses would pay for both the food and health safety services currently provided by the authority.

“We also wanted to know if businesses would invest in developments of new food and health safety services.”

The research focused on six key areas:

l Business size, scope

l Food/Health and Safety training

l Food/Health and Safety advisory services

l The Food Business Star Award Scheme

l Quality Tourism accreditation scheme

l Service satisfaction.

The results found 99 per cent of the respondents know about the Food Business Star Award and found it to be valuable or very valuable.

However, 99 per cent of respondents said they would not pay for an advisory service regarding the star award.

Coun Milne said: “The result was understandable given that the council’s catchment area is dominated by small businesses with a turnover of less than £500,000 and employing fewer than five staff members.

“A very limited number of food complaints or accidents have been incurred by this group across the last 10 years.

“However, we feel the survey was of great value to us as it clearly shows that we provide a good service which is valued by businesses.

“We will continue to focus on delivering the service in a similar manner as efficiently as possible.”

Recruitment manager at the Red Snapper Group, Mark Hothi said: “We were delighted to assist West Lindsey with this survey.

“The highly trained and experienced staff in local government regulatory services teams are ideally placed to provide added value to businesses through training and specialist advice, and it will be interesting to see if this innovative idea is developed in other authorities.”