THE Federation of Small Businesses is to meet with prospective parliamentary candidates in Huntingdonshire to outline what the organisation expects of its MPs after the General Election. Huntingdonshire FSB chairman Malcolm Lyons will present candidates with the FSB manifesto - "Small Business, Big Vote - The Route to Recovery" - and discuss the key concerns facing small businesses in the region. He met with Conservative candidate and shadow business minister Jonathan Djanogly on Thursday, and is hoping to meet candidates for Huntingdon and North West Cambs ahead of May 6. Mr Lyons said: "It's a chance for the FSB to put a case for the small businesses in Huntingdonshire, because the issues affecting business affect us all. "People have their own opinions, but economic development is crucial to everyone - business drives investment and jobs, and if we want these things then we have to earn them." One of Mr Lyons' ideas for encouraging enterprise in Huntingdonshire is to develop a series of "incubator units" - small business clusters offering each other support and advice, similar to the Creativexchange in St Neots. Mr Lyons said: "We see our high streets evolving at the moment, moving away from how people have shopped traditionally, and so we must evolve too. "As people do more shopping on the internet, the high street is becoming more social, with more coffee shops and restaurants, but there is still space for the independent retailer. They are the ones we must protect and encourage." Mr Djanogly agreed that offering support to start-ups was crucial: "The business incubator units are a very good idea - we have seen that from the CreativeXchange - and other businesses could benefit from similar schemes." Another of the FSB's central concerns is the burden of tax and regulation that is placed on small businesses. The federation has been gathering signatures for a petition to present to Government protesting the proposed one per cent rise in National Insurance Contributions, which it believes would place too high a cost on employing new staff for small businesses. Mr Djanogly, shadow business minister with responsibility for corporate governance and business regulations, said that he was opposed to the rise, and proposed a national insurance "holiday" for small businesses employing fewer than 10 employees to encourage growth and job creation. Mr Djanogly called the rise a "tax on jobs and a tax on business", and said he was committed to reviewing it. A moratorium on business legislation would also encourage job creation, according to the FSB, with Mr Djanogly agreeing that regulations were stifling business growth. He added: "The increase in legislation and employee regulations in the past 10 years is stopping our small businesses from employing. "Our proposal of a one in, one out policy on new legislation and a net five per cent lightening of the burden will help businesses. We want to reverse the trend, and see regulations decreasing, rather than increasing." MR LYONS is willing to meet with all prospective parliamentary candidates, and can be contacted on 01480 454801 or 07850 812036.