Mark Prisk, MP – Top Gun Fighter Pilot?

Mark Prisk, Minister for Business and Enterprise has written a blog post on the BIS website entitled: “Working together with small business“.

While I blame the last government for the current economic mess we are all in, I think there is a tendency in the current government to “SPIN” their way out of certain issues, especially when it comes to micro and small business.

I still maintain that most politicians have no idea what it is like to start, run and grow a business. In responce to his blog post I left the following comment, which I thought I’d share with you here:


again nice words, but the actions to support your statement above are missing. With thousands of SME clients, here are some of the things I believe need to be addressed:

1. I understand that HMRC is being exempt from your “Red Tape Challenge”? Why?

2. I believe it not only to be a human right to live in legal certainty, but essential to business. To stay on the right side of the rules and regulations for small business you need to consult expensive lawyers (money most small businesses can not afford) to get an interpretation (no certainty) of the law. HMRC is especially unhelpful in the hope to charge people penalties I guess. Each government department should operate an information service free of charge, where citizens and small businesses can get proper and binding advice.

3. With five year business mortality at over 50% – it is fair to say that governments and their policies to “help” SMEs have failed for the past 30 years. A “Get Out Of Our Way” policy – may be a better approach for the future.

4. Employment:- We and other businesses find it increasingly difficult to hire staff and maintain a level playing field with our employees, because of current employment law.

Job Centers have proven to be useless at best in supplying staff, I was even told to use employment agencies and the lady concerned even had the telephone numbers to hand?!?

5. It is nice to hear that the banking sector is given until 2019 to adopt the new banking regulations (whatever they may be), I just wish the SME clients of banks would have that long to pay the overdrafts back when they are cancelled by banks.
How about a rule that forbids banks to cancel overdrafts or credits prematurely for as long as regular payments by the clients are being maintained? Most of our clients are now to scarred to borrow, “the banks can’t be trusted”, they say.

6. Micro businesses are the real back-bone of this and any other economy in the developed and developing world. Even a micro business is a global business in the Internet age, much could be gained by providing a better infrastructure to allow those businesses to “import” work using the Internet.

7. Governments need to understand that they are supposed to be “regulating” the economy in a supporting fashion and not “control” the economy (something that could not be achieved anyway).

8. Every time we pass a law (or adopt an EU law) we are eroding our competitiveness – as mentioned before every business in today’s information age is a global business.

9. You need to redefine “growth” – it occurs when one freelancer forms a “project” co-op with a second and third freelancer for just one project. Or when a mum at home uses her skills and training to enter the many home business. Look at number of people and their turnover per person involved? I wonder how that would compare to big business?

10. Skills shortage: How many predominately women sit at home, with excellent motivation, skills and education? Women, this society has paid for to be educated, trained and motivated – but when they fulfill their evolutionary destiny as the bearer of our next generation – we dismiss them from the work process. This is the failure of government and big business to provide an environment for these women to contribute as much or as little to the economy as they wish.

I shall stop here, to leave room for others to have a say.

I applaud your obvious and sincere desire to help – but after more than three decades of running SMEs and thousands of SME clients, I can assure you one week “Business Experience” is like watching “Top Gun” and believing to be a fighter pilot.

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