Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Supporting Small Businesses


I was pleased to hear Cameron's suggestion that small businesses should be given some breathing space by the VAT man in these difficult months ahead. All too often it is the tax payment that is the final death knell for small companies when cash flow is squeezed. This is the sort of practical suggestion that should be leapt on by the Government not just dissed and dismissed.

A few nights ago I was invited by the Federation of Small Businesses in the East of England to join their representatives for dinner. The Labour, Lib Dem and Green candidates were also invited. I was firmly told that all the food was local and from small producers!

In preparation I had spent some time talking to every small business owner I could find.

One head-hunter said "I always thought I would be recession proof as I don't work in finance, property or retail but if people aren't moving house they aren't moving jobs." On the other hand a property manager told me he was doing "fine" since he has committed tenants and the painter decorator said "I don't mind if the phone doesn't ring until Christmas - not this Christmas next Christmas. People know I do a good job and I am booked up that far in advance".

I even popped into my local cobbler to check out the news story that cobblers are doing well from the credit crunch.... "I've been doing well for the past 21 years" was the response!

Whilst many many small businesses are having a tough time, these stories help illustrate that many are unique operations, often with long histories and nearly always with incredibly hard working people behind them. These are the sorts of businesses that are often incredibly hard to start-up but can face closure in an instant. We should support them.

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