Mr Local Authority Man

Local authorities could not care less about Enterprise Britain.

Sometimes the topic for my weekly blog hits me like a bullet. Last week I went to an event organized locally about education. Education has been struggling in this part of the world and many of us have been working very hard to try to improve it, including yours truly. I spend on average half a day a week on the school I am a governor at, all for no reward (donations and expressions of sympathy welcome!).

The local authority wants to change the school to an academy with three sponsors, including a corporate sponsor. The corporate sponsor, a very large UK based company, is going to encourage some of its employees (very few of whom work in this area) to donate a day a year (paid by the corporate sponsor of course), but then spread over all schools in the UK! Wow – I can already feel the impact – a whole day?

That is not the story though. At the event last week I was talking to a very senior manager of the local authority – one of those people who receive well above the £75,000 a year, in fact about double that (see ‘Cut the tax suckers by 50%’) and expressed my concern that they want to change the school to an academy with one corporate sponsor and thereby lose the input of several small businesses they have now. His reaction? “We cannot work with small business, as they do not speak with a unified voice”. I was painfully stunned.

How interesting that statement. Mr Local Authority Man, let me share a few stats with you :

– In 2007 99.9% of all businesses in the UK were SMEs (the government name for Enterprise Britain)
– 62% of all staff in the private sector is employed by Enterprise Britain

So just blow away the majority of employment in the UK. Completely ignore the fact that if and when this credit crunch goes away it will be Enterprise Britain which leads us out of the recession. Of course Enterprise Britain does not speak with a unified voice – but we do have similar interests. None of us want to be hindered in our business by overpaid jobs worths for one. We would like to have a fair share of the local authority business without being pushed away by pre-approved large corporates who get an unfair share of this business. And we would like to be able to recruit people locally with a decent education. And that’s just the simple stuff!

This senior local authority representative is a prime example of the problems we all face with a government who likes to patronize Enterprise Britain and then go for their nice board room meetings with their big corporate friends and sponsors.

But let’s face it Mr Local Authority Man – Enterprise Britain pays the taxes, and therefore your salary and we provide the employment now and in the future. Time to listen.

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