The voices of Bristol’s small and medium sized businesses are not being heard by the government, a new report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has found.
MP Karin Smyth (Bristol South), who sits on the Committee, is now reaching out to firms in her constituency to help give them a voice, especially on skills and training issues.
She highlighted the vital importance of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to south Bristol because:
– The area has hardly any large employers, and
– It contains some of the country’s most deprived communities, but
– Its unemployment figures are relatively good, ranking in the middle of the Parliamentary constituency league tables
“Many hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in my Bristol South constituency are doing a terrific job helping people into work,” she says.
“They’re doing well, but I want them to do better still. They need the conditions in which they can thrive and grow, because in doing so they will be better placed to help my constituents further develop their skills, their careers and their earning potential.”
The Public Accounts Committee, the Commons body that oversees value for taxpayers, has just published an inquiry into government spending with SMEs.
“One of our key overall findings rings loud: It seems the voice of SMEs is just not being truly heard in government,” adds Karin Smyth.
“A supposedly pro-business, pro-entreprenuerial Tory government isn’t listening.”
She highlights one major area where this is especially acute is over a key priority for Bristol South. “Training and apprenticeship opportunities are especially important here not least because this is the constituency with the lowest university entry rate in UK.
“I’m taking steps to try to help our businesses provide skills opportunities, so I am asking their views on the government’s pledge to introduce three million new apprenticeships by 2020.
“From conversations I have with local business people it is clear that whilst many want to take advantage of their position to help improve skills and apprenticeship opportunities, too many obstacles get in the way.”
She pledges that in the absence of ‘top-down’ communication from Ministers to SMEs she will ensure Bristol SMEs’ voices are fed directly to Ministers and is using a survey to canvass their views.
The Labour MP and Public Accounts Committee member made her comments in a new article published by Progress. You can read the article in full here
To read the Public Accounts Committee’s report use this link