Gordon Brown’s decision to appoint TV’s most feared boss, Lord Alan Sugar, as the government’s small business Tsar, was always going to be controversial. However, the situation was made infinitely worse when Sugar identified struggling businesses as ‘moaners’ at a conference in Manchester last year. Many people felt that Sugar was being insensitive and unsupportive of small businesses and his statement prompted calls for him to be – in his own words – FIRED!
However, in the wake of the recent budget, Gordon Brown has announced that Lord Sugar is to be an integral part of a new committee devise to help small businesses and advise the government on how to best to deal with giving them access to finance.
In last week’s budget, Alistair Darling outlined the government’s new SBCA scheme, which gives small businesses the chance to appeal if their application for finance has been rejected. One of the primary objectives of this new task force will be to establish what powers the government should have in terms of giving small businesses access to finance and who should take the role as Credit Adjudicator.
Lord Sugar, who has previously praised the banks for dealing with small business finance applications in a ‘responsible’ and ‘professional manner’ – will be joined, by the head of Lloyds TSB Mr Fairey and interestingly the FSB chairman John Wright.
The government’s appointment of Mr Wright has been applauded by the majority of the SME sector, who historically have felt that the people making policy which affects small business were too far removed from it.