Cameron - have you got the balls to make the changes that SMEs need but successive Governments have failed to execute?
When PM David Cameron spoke to his party in Cardiff last Sunday at their annual spring conference, delegates may have been forgiven for thinking they were back in the 1980s.
Lavishing praise on entrepreneurs and the ‘go getters’, Cameron tried desperately to readdress the balance after criticism from opponents who said the Government had been too quick to cut public spending, instead of focusing on encouraging economic growth.
He spoke at length about how the country “relies on the spark of initiative, the courage to make your dream happen, and the hard work to see it through”. What he failed to address however was how the party were going to actually help facilitate new enterprise.
What is needed over any short term initiative is a different mindset. Failure is still something that is frowned upon in the UK and therefore people are often scared to take risks. If they want to genuinely encourage entrepreneurs in this country, then, for a start, they need to begin surrounding themselves with some. And no not the Lord Sugars or the Phillip Greens, but the thousands of entrepreneurs with businesses that turnover £1m through £100m; those that are the life blood of this country. Politicians and Civil servants are not the “start ups, go-getters and risk-takers” Cameron claimed was his “party’s beating heart”.
If they want to help not only business start ups, but established SME’s grow, then there need to be some ground rules. Government pledged they will actively buy from SMEs, but can he show us where this has happened? My business is still banging on the door of number 10! Why has he failed to bring about new tax incentives that allow entrepreneurs to re-invest for growth? Why is he not ordering the banks to make more money available for entrepreneurs? Simply stating “What drives us is getting things done – and what drives us mad is the bureaucracy” is no good. People too scared to begin a start up, or too worried about spending to aid expansion are looking for answers to these questions.
Huge corporations constantly obtain giant tax breaks that ensure they stay based in the UK, whilst SMEs struggle to grow as the tax burden gets heavier and heavier. It’s a vicious circle, which unless forward thinking and radical change are brought in, will continue this downward spiral.
The Conservatives need to be very, very clear (and consistent) about the criteria to qualify for support and incentives. This way business’s can plan and create on the basis of knowing exactly how the government would help. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said, “When we urgently need a plan for jobs and growth to get the economy moving again and help hard-pressed families, all David Cameron and George Osborne can offer is empty words but precious little action”
I’m tempted to agree, but let me know what you think @ http://twitter.com/#!/asapearce