You’re a business owner in Dudley trying your level best to make it through this difficult period and hoping that things pick-up so that you can retain staff and turn a profit. You may be faced with something of an uphill struggle and then out of nowhere – Is it a bird? Is it a plane? – no such luck, it’s the “business assistance campaign bus” jam-packed full of leaflets and ‘advisors’ sent by Business Link West Midlands to remind you just why your tax bill is so hefty each month.
This advert was spotted by a supporter of the TaxPayers’ Alliance who, quite fairly, wondered what possible good a roaming band of bureaucrats could do for the local economy. No need to ask which suckers are paying for it…
A press release from the council website waxes lyrical about the veritable A-Team of onboard advisors from “a number of agencies” (all presumably duplicating each others work) who will be equipped with reams of glossy literature, mostly referring companies to other bodies with funding and generally relaying information that’s sure to be available on the internet should you need it.
“The roadshows are part of a 10 point action plan the council has committed to in order to offer support to borough residents and businesses. The recession busting action plan aimed at tackling the economic downturn was unveiled this month” (April)
The ten point plan includes boosting business by ensuring they take up public sector contracts available to them, these frilly and presumably costly ‘roadshows’ to make Business Link et al look visible and proactive, the launch of web pages pointing to different support channels (even though it’s a wonder the internet hasn’t collapsed with quangos rushing to set-up slick new websites offering exactly the same information), plans to encourage benefit take-up and a scheme to extend new employment opportunities, not in jobs created by local businesses, but at Dudley Council.
Unfortunately they’ve included no plans to scrap costly quangos or give a decent cut in business rates and so the rest of us will continue to balk as these unaccountable bodies dream up more ways to waste much needed money under the guise of offering advice and support.