Labour calls for “minister for small business”

Labour’s Lord Adonis has called for the appointment of a “minister for small business” to focus the government’s attention on SMEs.

The suggestion came in a report criticising the effectiveness of the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

BIS abolished a network of BusinessLink centres, which provided advice to small firms, and replaced them with a helpline, explains the report.

It also criticised the department for failing to recruit enough people from the private sector and for being too focused on London and the South East.

“BIS needs to raise its game,” Adonis says. “It is an indifferent champion of business, particularly small business, and relates poorly to many key industrial sectors.

“It is also far too centralised on London, and lacks outreach to – and sufficient knowledge of – the real economy particularly outside the capital. All this needs to change radically.”

A minister for small business would help raise the profile of Britain’s SMEs, which account for more than 99 per cent of all businesses, but would need to have genuinely robust powers and a passion for small business to make a lasting impact.

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