Business Secretary Sent on Summer Work Experience

Business secretary Vince Cable and Green Party leader Caroline Lucas are among 102 MPs to have signed up for the Business Buddy scheme, run by the Forum of Private Business (FPB) this summer.

Under the business buddy scheme, MPs will meet small-business owners in their constituencies during the parliamentary summer break and find out how they operate day to day and experience first-hand some of the challenges they face.

Other high-profile politicians taking part include Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin, shadow education secretary Andy Burnham and shadow Cabinet Office and Olympics minister Tessa Jowell.

Vince Cable will spend a week at a luxury furniture manufacturer in Twickenham, Caroline Lucas will be spending time with a fruit and veg wholesaler in Brighton, Andy Burnham will visit a chemical company in Leigh, and Tessa Jowell’s stint will be with a wholefood retailer in Brixton.

FPB head of campaigns Jane Bennett said:

“Obviously, we’re especially pleased that Vince Cable has agreed to spend time with one of our members, it’s quite something for the owner of a small company to be able to communicate their issues and concerns directly to the business secretary.”

“However, every MP’s involvement in the scheme is very valuable. It will give small-business owners across the UK a voice in the corridors of power in Westminster and hopefully help to influence the business policies of the main political parties.”

“The scheme will also be instrumental in helping to further the aims of our Get Britain Trading campaign, which calls for more help and understanding to be shown to small businesses by the Government and its various agencies.” said Bennett.

A Department for Business Innovation and Skills spokesman denied that the scheme was nothing more than a publicity stunt and that the Business Secretary should be on top of the issues facing small businesses anyway.

“I think that’s unfair. If you spend time with someone in their everyday working lives you’re bound to get a better idea of the issues they face than you could any other way.”

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