WHILE Huntingdonshires Liberal Democrats were giving Education Secretary Michael Gove a poke on the nose over his schools plans, small firms were urging the party not to neglect the sector that underpins the economy. With more than half of small business sales coming from customers in the local area, the FSB addressed conference delegates at an FSB fringe event in Liverpool, reminding them that supporting local entrepreneurs creates more opportunities for communities to grow key to putting the UK economy firmly on the path to recovery. The FSB is also urging the coalition Government to include FSB members on Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) and ensure that LEPs have a clear vision for generating business growth. FSB Huntingdonshire chairman Malcolm Lyons said: Small businesses generate wealth, employment and opportunity. In 2009, 19,077 businesses closed, compared to 15,535 in 2008 and 12,507 in 2007. We must not let this trend continue. Small businesses rely on customers in their local area to survive, but equally communities depend on successful local businesses. Small firms must be at the heart of the LEP decision-making process building this vision for the future. It is vital that our members have their interests fully represented.