THE COTSWOLDS' biggest business representation group has opened its new regional office in the heart of Cirencester.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) previously looked after it's 7,000 members from an office in Barnsley village but has just moved to Cirencester Office Park on Tetbury Road.

Representing small business owners, entrepreneurs and the self-employed, FSB invited Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown to officially open the new office.

As part of the opening, members of the Cotswold FSB branch took the opportunity to have an open discussion with senior bank officials about how small businesses can get the finance they need to grow.

Small businesses often complain that they cannot get the funding they need so Mr Clifton-Brown organised a meeting where FSB members put their concerns directly to two senior Gloucestershire representatives of the HSBC bank.

"We are very grateful that Mr Clifton-Brown took time out of his busy schedule to open our new Cirencester office and also to set up this important meeting about access to finance,” said vice chairman of the FSB’s Cotswold branch Roger Sillick,

“Both Andy and Victoria from HSBC listened to our concerns carefully and assured us that the banks were still very much open for business which was reassuring."

The HSBC officials said that their bank, and others, did have money to lend to small businesses and said it is very often poor initial business plans that are the reason why financial support isn't forthcoming.

Mr Clifton-Brown said he was glad to welcome the FSB to its new office home.

“This is an excellent small modern facility enabling the FSB to efficiently run their entire operation in the Gloucestershire region," he said.

"I was also pleased to combine the visit with a good round table discussion with HSBC which centred on the many FSB members who were refused a bank loan last year.

"HSBC made it quite clear that they were in the business of lending to small businesses and had devoted considerable extra resources to doing so."