Hull City Council's brick wall of bureaucracy

Jobs are scarce in Hull, with dozens of people chasing each vacancy. Existing businesses and entrepreneurs who want to expand their operations and provide much needed employment need to be encouraged, and the council should be doing everything it can to make it easier for them.

Richard Turner runs Milkshake Factory in the city. He has a mobile trailer from which he trades at festivals, and would like a street trading licence to rent a pitch in the city centre. Not only would this create more jobs, as Mr Turner buys ingredients for the milkshakes he sells from local suppliers, it would help other local businesses too.

Mr Turner was told that because responsibility for street trading licences are being transferred from the network management unit to the licensing department in 2014, no more applications are being considered. Richard Townend, the council's Network Management Manager, told the Hull Daily Mail that the process to establish street trading in the city centre was too time-consuming to start before it is transferred to the licensing department in January and would not make "financial or viable sense". He estimated the process would take nearly six months to complete because current businesses that could be affected by a new street trader would have to be consulted.

I can understand why current businesses need to be consulted, but six months? Surely it shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks. Cllr John Fareham, leader of the Conservative Group in Hull described this as "responsibility tennis". I know what he means. Well paid senior officers who should be doing everything they can to provide a quick turnaround, are instead deciding to do nothing and are blaming the system.

In the meantime, dozens of people are still chasing each job vacancy and enterprise is constrained.

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