As ever Enterprise Britain is ahead of the pack. For months we have lamented the performance of the Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills Dr. Vince Cable.
Now Conservative back benchers are piling in (good Conservative principle this: if a man is down kick him even harder). They are led by publicity hungry David Davis (he of the social conscience) who is calling for the Business Secretary “to rediscover the case for growth” by supporting a reduction in the rate of capital gains tax (currently 28%).
David Ruffley MP (a member of the Treasury Committee) thinks that Dr. Cable “has become a roadblock to crucial economic reforms” and Nick de Bois MP is suggesting that “we need someone at the head of the Business Department who wants to get government off the backs of business.”
Meanwhile the Business Secretary thinks he should be the Chancellor of the Exchequer unless he becomes leader of the Liberal Democrat Party as Nick Clegg continues his suicidal propensity for saying silly things. His post holiday thinking on a new wealth tax has managed to leave everyone in his party totally speechless.
Under the Coalition agreement David Cameron can’t move a Lib-Dem minister which is really irritating Dave because he thinks he can do anything he wants.
An example of the ineptitude of the Business for Innovation and Skills is the ‘Start-up loan scheme for young people’. This offers entrepreneurs aged 18 – 24 loans of £2,500 for those with robust business plans. The term is five years and the rate is RPI + 3%. Launching it in May 2012 the PM said
“I want this to be the year when people can think yes, I can do it, that we can get as many viable businesses off the ground as possible, that people can have a go, and that we see a whole new wave of entrepreneurs who start small but think big.”
The idea was thought up by Sir Richard Branson. This was before he was thanked by the loss of his rail franchise.
A more serious attempt by Dr. Cable to invigorate the business community was the commissioning of the Breedon report which involved a panel of the good and the great (and expensive) from the City whose remit was to examine ‘Boosting Finance Options for Business’. Their report in March 2012 contained the following statement from the Business Secretary:
“I have encouraged them to be bold and I hope their work will represent a turning point in UK business finance”
The final report is most certainly wide-ranging and well presented. There are a number of interesting recommendations several of which require the setting up of study groups.
It is known that a comprehensive review of SMEs is being undertaken by the Treasury Committee. Will the Breedon Report recommendations feature in this?
Who knows? Probably not the Business Secretary whose reputation is at an all time low.
The fact that Vince is probably mince does not help the UK’s ailing economy and certainly not the four million business owners who feels neglected and betrayed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.