PM Must Back Up Words of Support, say Small Businesses
Small Businesses and business groups have urged the Prime Minister to back up his verbal support of small-business owners with actions, following his speech to the Conservative Party Conference.
Speaking to delegates last Wednesday (6th October), Mr Cameron promised to back the “doers and the grafters” and said it would be the “wealth creators” who get Britain’s economy going again.
Quoting a small-business owner who had told Mr Cameron that he could not get government support when starting up, the Prime Minister said he admired people who started their own business and wanted to support them. He urged the banks to do the same by lending more to small firms.
George Derbyshire, the chief executive of the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies (NFEA), said the focus on small firms was welcome, but the speech left many questions unanswered.
“The point is, of course, ‘So what are you going to do?’ There’s a huge amount of worry from my members about how we will be able to support businesses in the future. Mr Cameron’s words did little to reassure them or the half a million people a year like the one he quoted who are starting their own business.”
“There was no detail – the only concrete thing we’ve had so far is Iain Duncan Smith’s announcement of the ‘entrepreneur’s allowance’. Everything’s on hold until after the Comprehensive Spending Review on 20 October.”
Nikki Hesford, founder of Miss Fit UK said it was good to “finally” see some encouragement for small firms.
“For the PM to be echoing my own thoughts was great,” she said. “But I’m waiting to see whether this Government will back up their promises. I’m hopeful, because in the past Labour paid lip service to things, but I never felt like anything was getting done. But I feel there’s a lot happening now.”
Hesford also welcomed the Prime Minister’s tough words for the banks.
“Bank lending is something that gets shouted about a lot but in practice it’s not acted on. When I secured my first big contract I had to cover that myself because the banks just wouldn’t cover me, despite the fact I had a purchase order from House of Fraser.”
“There’s plenty of hand-holding and advice on how to do a business plan. But the stuff you actually need, they talk about it but I’m not seeing any of it.”