Dim & Dimmer – the SMEs View of Business Secretaries

Prince of Darkness and his Shadow live up to their names

12 April, 2010 - Research launched today from Make It Cheaper, the business price comparison service, shows an alarming disconnect between the main parties and UK small businesses. The majority of those questioned were unable to name the Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson (75%) - or his shadow colleague Ken Clarke (89%).

Perhaps even more worrying is that when asked which politicians would best represent small business interests if elected, an alarming 46% claimed that no-one (from Brown, Cameron, and Clegg) would do a good job as none of them cared about or truly understood local businesses.

Jonathan Elliott, managing director, Make It Cheaper, said: “It is clear that there is a massive disconnect between main political parties and people who work in local businesses – the people who are at the very heart of the economy. The vast majority of those we asked were unable to name the Secretary of State for Business or his shadow colleague. These guys should be out there talking to the people who are on the front line of the economy. Instead, our survey shows they are judged as not understanding business pressures (25%) and having no impact on the daily lives of local businesses (22%).”

When asked about potential solutions to this disconnect, the answer was loud and clear, with 40% of respondents claiming that the first thing they would do if they were Prime Minister would be to ban career politicians and get real people, with real experience into power. On that note, 30% of them think they could do a better job of running the country, with almost one in ten considering standing as an MP.

The survey voices clear demands from small businesses for real change and less political spiel:

• Unsurprisingly 60% would institute better tax breaks for small businesses
• A third would call launch a specialised bank, that understood the real issues small businesses face
• 24% would lower the cost of employing staff, interesting in the face of the current national insurance debate
• A fifth would place restrictions on global brands competing for local high street business

The research was conducted by independent research company Redshift amongst 500 people working in local businesses in the UK.


About Make It Cheaper

Established in 2007 and based in Central London, Make It Cheaper receives more utility price comparison enquiries (2,000 a week) and arranges more new contracts (1,000 a week) than any other business-only price comparison service. These enquiries include those from the business customers of most of the major domestic price comparison services as well as business membership organisations, charities and trade associations. Acting on behalf of these customers with total impartiality and without charge, Make It Cheaper offers cost savings across a range of products including business electricity, business gas, insurance and telecoms. The prices it offers are often better than could be found by going direct to suppliers because of the volume of deals its negotiates.

Notes to Editors:

*Additional statistics from the research showed that:

• 63% of people would rather have Gordon Ramsay in power than Gordon Brown
• A third think David Beckham could score more political goals than David Cameron
• An astonishing 58% think that Peter Stringfellow would make a better front bencher than Peter Mandelson
• Nearly half (43%) would prefer DIY expert Nick Knowles than Nick Clegg
• 34% would vote for Corrie’s Ken Barlow over Ken Clarke


Neil Hallmark / Sarah Mayer
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