Yesterday was one of the few days in the year when thanks to advocates such as Tony Robinson and Paul Lancaster, that Micro Businesses were being treated with some respect. There are several such days each year, one is the second Friday in January which is #MicroBizMatters day and another is Small Business Saturday which is the first Saturday in December which adopts the idea developed in the USA which works very well for retailers (but not for businesses like the one I am part of which operates Monday to Friday only). On top of these two days there is Small Business Advice Week which is the first week of September and then Local Business Week which is the second week in May. Now despite these efforts and the fact that most employees and workers are part of small or micro businesses in the UK, the need for such businesses to be treated with more credibility by the Government is enormous. For example when the coalition under Lord Maude of Horsham introduced the idea of the Government procuring 25% of their requirements through SME’s, what they failed to do was differentiate between Small and Micro businesses and Medium size businesses. Yet a Micro businesses employ 0-9 people and have a turnover of up to £2m, whereas Medium size business employ 50-250 people and have a turnover of around £10m-£50m. It was clear that most or possibly all of the 25% of the procurement was aimed at the Medium sized businesses, because Governments consistently hate dealing with lots of small agencies. However it would appear that the Tory Government is about to claim that they want to work with small and hopefully micro businesses, almost as if they have suddenly discovered that we exist. So the three elements that have arisen are:
- Chris Grayling claimed on Tuesday “The Government are told time and again that we should contract and work with small business, and help small businesses to develop, but when we do so, we get nothing but a wall of criticism from Opposition Members.” Now to be fair his doing so which took place on 28th December was with Seaborne Freight so we may not see that happening again in a hurry.
- Dominic Raab is making a speech on Monday that is almost certainly his attempt to apply for leadership of the party. The speech is entitled ‘The UK after Brexit: An economic vision for small businesses, workers and consumers’
- Greg Clark is the Secretary for State for BEIS and on Thursday 31st January he is attending a Reception organised by Wealden Conservatives in East Sussex. The people invited to this exclusive meeting hosted by Nusrat Ghani the local MP are local entrepreneurs, all of whom run small and micro businesses.
Clearly the Tory Party will quickly work out that the big businesses are the ones willing to stump up millions of pounds for their party and they will then revert to big and medium businesses, but we have around 15 minutes of high profile in the meantime!