In response we have launched a ‘Business Buddy’ work experience scheme which is part of our Get Britain Trading campaign and gives MPs, MSPs and Welsh Assembly members valuable insights into the trial and tribulations of starting and growing a business.
We hope that direct experience of how life really is at the coalface of entrepreneurship will help lead us to the promised land of fewer regulations, a simpler and less burdensome tax system and the provision of better, more affordable finance.
Put simply, if we are serious about small businesses becoming the catalyst for sustained economic growth and job creation our political leaders will have to wake up to the fact that they need more than just a handful of piecemeal tax breaks, lending and late payment pledges and red tape initiatives that, so far at least, appear to have had little effect in freeing up entrepreneurship.
Back in 2009, research showed that less than half of prospective parliamentary candidates had experience of business or financial management. However, 15 per cent said they did – more than double the previous year.
In the interests of helping them to develop their understanding of small firms we have already secured more than 100 placements in businesses in constituencies across the country – including setting up Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin in a local pie shop.
It is also hoped that these politicians will stay in touch with business owners long after the visits have taken place, creating a ‘hotline’ for firms to communicate any emerging issues and concerns.
As a leading business support and lobbying organisation that is the coordinated voice of its members we want to hear any other suggestions as to how we can make our politicians sit up and listen to what small business owners are saying.
All comments and opinions will be considered and used to inform our public affairs work. For more information about what the Forum is doing to help people start and grow businesses call 0845 612 6266 or visit www.fpb.org.