The shock timing of the announcement for the closure of the Peugeot factory in Coventry will yet again create upheaval across the region.

This time, though, the lessons learned from Rover, as well as Jaguar and other major corporate failures, should at least mean that help can be provided where it is most needed, and more importantly, provided quickly.

However, the call from unions and others to add even more to our employment laws is ridiculous and unjustified.

They seem to be totally ignoring the global economy in which we now compete.

The imposition of more laws, regulation and red tape is having a damaging cumulative effect on our region's economy. It is also undermining the entrepreneurial base. Only by nurturing and cultivating our small businesses can we ever hope to achieve the goals set out in our strategies for the region as a whole and for our communities in particular.

But it is not just a problem for the industrial urban areas. These policies affect small businesses in every location.

The FSB's recent survey shows a trend of greater numbers of home-based businesses, particularly in rural areas. It is a trend that is helping to re-vitalise rural communities ensuring that our picturesque villages are real communities, not just dormitories for professional urban commuters.

Regrettably, this trend will go into reverse if the accumulation of red-tape and regulation marches on.

Add to that the fiasco surrounding the single farm payments issue which threatens the very survival of many in the farming community - not to mention the knock-on effect this could have on other small businesses - and you get even more pressure to close post offices and banks, as well as local shops, because of a further decrease in demand.

It is abundantly clear that what we need is less legislation, otherwise the cumulative effect will become too great a yoke around all our necks.

Many small businesses freely admit that they can no longer cope with the ever demanding tide that is engulfing their businesses, stifling their resources and harming their growth.

Small businesses' greatest advantage is flexibility and adaptability - in a rapidly changing economy we need that entrepreneurial approach more than ever.

* Mike Cherry is West Midlands Policy Unit Chairman for the federation of Small Businesses ..SUPL: