Saturday, June 30

Wot No Small Bussineses !

The New Prime Minister has announced the creation of a new Business Council for Britain (BCB) comprising senior representatives of UK based businesses ''to advise him on issues that affect enterprise, business and the long term productivity and competitiveness of the economy.''

The remit of the BCB will be to:
''Advise the Government on its ongoing policies and priorities; conduct its own reviews on the areas it believes will determine the future economic well-being of the UK; and where issues are particularly important, have the power to establish Special Commissions to make recommendations for reform.''

The full list of members of the council comprises the good and great of corporate business:

Sir Richard Branson: Founder, Virgin Group
Damon Buffini: Managing Partner, Permira
Sir William Castell: Chair, Wellcome Trust
Mervyn Davies: Chairman, Standard Chartered Bank
Sir Rod Eddington: Director, News Corporation
Dr Jean Pierre Garnier: CEO Glaxo SmithKline
Stephen Green: Chairman, HSBC
Tony Hayward: CEO, BP
Sir Terry Leahy: CEO, Tesco
Sir John Parker: Chair, National Grid
Sir John Rose: CEO, Rolls Royce
Stuart Rose: CEO, Marks and Spencer
Arun Sarin: CEO, Vodafone
Dame Marjorie Scardino: CEO, Pearson
Sir Alan Sugar: Chair and CEO, Amstrad

Conspicuous by their absence are the representatives of the economic engine room of UK; the small business community? There are now about 4 million small businesses in the UK who employ over 12 million people which is 54 per cent of the of the private sector workforce. Small Businesses contribute over 50 per cent (that's over £500 billion) of our great nation's GDP. Small (or a better term is independent ) business people are the innovators, risk takers, entrepreneurs and the commercial inspiration of our country. Well over 60 per cent of new commercial innovations come from small businesses.

So why is it only the corporate business world represented on Gordon Brown's new initiative - is it because for so long they have in actuality called the shots in the forming of new (mostly EU) legislation and "European" (EU) Economic strategy?

One assumes that the UKs largest member based business organisation The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) will be knocking on the door of Number 10 on Monday morning and complaining about their exclusion; as Sir Terry Leahy will agree ''every little helps''. Not that small businesses are little, with out their input there quite simply would be no thriving UK economy. One assumes that the Prime Minister is aware of that, which makes their absence from the new Business Council indeed quite curious.

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