Posted in: Growth
Government growth initiatives: Making the most of what is out there
By Fionnuala Horrocks-Burns - 21 May 2013
Is it possible that signs of recovery are glimmering on the horizon? The recent revised GDP figures indicated growth, even if it is happening at a snail's pace. It was against this backdrop that Lord Young, special adviser to the PM on small business and enterprise, suggested that recession can be an excellent time to start a business.
The comment received a mixed review with the opposition slamming Lord Young and the coalition government for being out of touch. As with any comment taken independently it can be presented in a variety of ways. But when placed back into the context of the accompanying report, Growing your Business, Lord Young makes a clear statement about the need to maximise the use of the existing government support rather than simply announcing further headline grabbing schemes.
His recommendation to remove the age cap on the Start Up Loans initiative was well received; business is not age limited so why should government impose arbitrary barriers? Lord Young also made a pertinent recommendation around the marketing of future government support initiatives. Since 2010 the Coalition has overtly targeted small businesses with multitude of support schemes and growth initiatives. Unfortunately economic recovery is not generated by announcement numbers alone. It is comes when the two key players interact; when thousands of small businesses engage with effective government programmes - and this is often the part the government glosses over.
Making the most of what is already out there was the clear message from Lord Young in his recent report. Yes, he accepted government can do more and the lack of detail about the future Growth Voucher scheme announced back with the Budget was disappointing, but a further raft of disparate initiatives is not the answer.
There is no quick fix to economic stagnation. A single government growth policy will not alleviate the pressure on cash flow or cure the confidence crisis that so many businesses are undergoing. However Lord Young does make a valid point, we need to maximise engagement with existing programmes rather than sit back and wait for a magic fix.
Whilst many took objection to Lord Young’s comment about the business opportunities in a recession, his statement, "here are the tools; now it is up to you" probably should have read “here are the tools; now it is up to us to use them.” Government's role in stimulating growth is far from over - now they’ve provided some useful tools they must continue to work with business to enable they use them effectively.
To find how Forum membership can help grow your business, call our membership team on 0845 130 1722. To view a list of government schemes available, go to Lord Young’s Summary of Help.