Please see below for my latest column in the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald (06 August 15). Click HERE to view the ‘Red Tape Challenge’
Big businesses is often in the spotlight – ‘big business’ equals ‘big news’. But what about the others? Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) make up 99% of the over 5 million businesses in the country (employing almost half the private sector workforce), yet rarely receive attention or praise. These businesses are the beating heart of the economy, delivering jobs, growth and prosperity for millions of people; thousands of them in Wiltshire alone.
This week I met with a group of 100 local business leaders, all with a keen interest in growing local jobs for local people and playing a vital role in supporting our towns.
Despite the growth of the internet and the growing strength of big business, there has never been a better time for entrepreneurialism and the birth of small businesses. SMEs have a huge amount to offer. They are agile and create more jobs than any other kind of enterprise and have much more of a stake in their local communities than many large companies.
As the local MP, I have the immense pleasure of visiting a diverse range of businesses throughout the constituency. Many of these businesses want to grow, to invest, to employ more staff and apprentices and to take their products and services to new consumers in the UK, Europe and the world. But they can’t do it on their own. During my visits, my eyes have been opened to the amount of red tape that these businesses have to go through. It is shocking. We need to axe unnecessary regulation and its poor implementation.
The last Government was the first in post-war history to reduce the burden of regulation. Strong action has been taken remove outdated or needless burdens and leave businesses free to do what they are good at.
Last week I met with a group of our local GPs. Local Authorities, the Care Quality Commission and Clinical Commissioning Groups all ask them and local care homes for similar information and carry out similar inspections. The GPs were concerned about the financial and time costs of duplication when their focus should not be on paperwork but on caring for patients.
The Business Secretary is launching ambitious reviews into burdensome red tape. To feed into those reviews, I am launching my own ‘Red Tape Challenge’ and ask local business leaders, or employees to let me know what pieces of red tape they believe are unnecessary. The information received will be collated and taken directly to the Business Secretary to go into the National Review of Business Regulation.
SMEs are the very fabric of our communities. They have a strong advocate in me and I look forward to hearing from them. To feed into my ‘Red Tape Challenge’ please visit www.michelledonelan.com/redtape