These questions and lack of answers over the last few days (last Thursday and this Monday) indicate that our Government is protecting its own failings and they need to be held accountable. Neither of these questions if answered would place Seaborne Freight or indeed the Government in any more of a mess than they already are. Indeed there is an argument that suggests that a bit more clarity would remove some of the legitimate criticisms of the Government over what has been a rather disturbing issue. Although it has no connection, to the Seaborne matter I have recently been attempting to unpack how the Government organises some of the infrastructure work they are engaged in, in the location of the business I work for which is in the constituency of Nusrat Ghani. These projects involve spending our money and needing companies to help them to deliver the work and our company would like to bid for this work. The approach that the Government have taken on this area is very opaque and hard to work through, whereas as one pursues the issues the willingness of the other companies involved to explain matters to their potential competitors or partners in the work is so much greater. The Government regularly hide behind the argument that they cannot reveal information due to the commercial protection needed to offer businesses involved when this appears to act as a basis for raising all sorts of inadequate websites and standard letters and failures to take phone calls. The truth is that when the leaders of the Government like Nusrat refuse to answer questions of this superficial nature, that it sets out an approach that is followed through deeper into the bodies that are part of the Civil Service and makes them appear just as incompetent as Nusrat is here. The irony is that when Nusrats boss, Chris Grayling was defending his decision to award Seaborne the contract back on the 8th January he stated “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.” As a small business trying to understand the nature of the potential contracts that we could deliver on our doorstep it is clear that if the Government believes it is helping small businesses, their ignorance is very deep indeed!
The even bigger irony is that tomorrow evening Nusrat Ghani is holding a reception as part of the local Conservative Party which they have invited the owners of small businesses to attend, to meet Greg Clark. Our business is not going to attend, because it is clear that they want to claim support from businesses, not that they want to really understand our requirements in such matters.