CBI begs Government for more help

The Confederation of British Industry has begged the Government for more help when it comes to supporting the UK’s smallest businesses – including contractors.

The CBI’s international director Simon Moore appeared in front of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee recently, making a case for better governmental support for small and medium size businesses, which would include sole traders like freelancers and umbrella company contractors. Moore was especially insistent on how badly the exports and manufacturing sectors needed help, a sentiment that was repeated by other trade industry bodies like the Institute for Exports and the British Chamber of Commerce. Honestly I didn’t even realize we had an Institute for Exports!

But never  mind that; on to how Moore thinks the Government can help. The international director said that there’s simply not enough awareness revolving around the services that UK Export Finance and UK Trade and Industry can offer. BIS is looking for some new programmes to spearhead, so this open session is likely to be instrumental to getting some new blood pumping through the veins of British industry.

Of course the Government doesn’t exactly have a spotless record when it comes to providing support for businesses in the UK, particularly SMEs. Who here remembers what a spectacular failure the Funding for Lending Scheme turned out to be? For those of you playing along at home, FLS was a supposedly brilliant plot to provide capital to High Street banks at fantastically low interest rates with the intimation that these banks would then pass the low-rate loans on in the form of mortgages and business loans that would actually be affordable.

Technically, banks complied with the scheme. Of course they made it so hard to qualify for these ultra low-rate loans that they simply sat on the massive piles of cash instead. Complete bloody waste of time, and it didn’t help out SMEs in the least! Hopefully any new schemes thought up by the Government will cut out middlemen like the banking industry and actually reach those that need it most – like British sole traders, freelancers and umbrella company contractors – instead of large firms that really don’t need the help whatsoever.

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