The Conservative Party has set out new proposals which could dramatically change the way small businesses get financial support.
The party’s Small Business Taskforce unveiled the plans, designed to simplify the process of gaining access to support for small businesses, at a press conference today.
Former Dragons’ Den judge Doug Richard, who chaired the Taskforce, said the country’s 3,000 schemes to provide information and support to small businesses are ‘confusing and out of control’.
Richard hit out at the regionalisation of support systems such as Business Link, criticising the disparities in different regions.
“No two regions have the same support structures,” he said. “Of the estimated £2bn the government spends on small business support, at a regional level, more than a third is put into administration.”
He added that many of the government’s support schemes were surplus to requirements.
“Just one half of one percent of small businesses who used the government’s services said they were satisfied with the advice provided,” he said.
The report proposed a single business information service, with an ‘eBay-like’ web ranking system allowing businesses to rate the standard of the support given.
Shadow chancellor George Osborne said the report underlined the Conservatives’ commitment to making starting a business easier.
“These solutions are necessary because the rate of business start-up in Britain is below that of Canada, Australia and the United States,” he said.
“Enterprise is the engine of a dynamic economy, and we need to act. We need a new economic dynamism that sees government as a help for business, rather than a hindrance.”
© Crimson Business Ltd. 2008