Small firms can show Whitehall how to do more with less, says Forum

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Government departments could learn from SMEs when trying to manage shrinking budgets, according to the Forum of Private Business.

Matthew Goodman, Forum of Private Business Head of Policy

The Forum’s Head of Policy, Matthew Goodman, said: “The cuts announced by the Government are regrettable and many smaller businesses will be affected in one way or another.”

Government departments could learn from SMEs when trying to manage shrinking budgets, according to the Forum of Private Business.

Reacting to the spending cuts announced today, the Forum called for Whitehall to look at how recession-hit smaller businesses have managed to cut costs without sacrificing the quality of their goods and services.

Many Forum members have seen severe reductions in their revenue streams since the economic downturn took hold, but have managed to weather the storm through a combination of flexibility, efficiency and good relations with employees.

The Forum believes Government bodies could follow the example set by smaller firms when coming to terms with significantly reduced budgets.

The Forum’s Head of Policy, Matthew Goodman, said: “The cuts announced by the Government are regrettable and many smaller businesses will be affected in one way or another.

“The £836 million reduction earmarked for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills could potentially mean that business support will be one of the worst casualties of the cutbacks. This, of course, is a cause for concern.

“However, the impact of the cuts can be mitigated by greater efficiency and use of resources at grassroots level, rather than traditional top-down approaches such as indiscriminate redundancy programmes and blanket spending cuts in certain areas.

“We believe that smaller businesses are expert at doing more with less – many of our members have been put under a huge amount of pressure over the past two years or so, but their dedication and attention to detail ensured that their business survived. We believe the public sector can learn some valuable lessons from their experiences.”

Mr Goodman added: “Perhaps it would be useful if senior managers in the public sector spent some time visiting successful SMEs so they can see first-hand how organizations can provide more value for money with enough determination and hard work.”

Mr Goodman also said that the Forum would be keeping a close watch on how a shake-up of local government funding will affect smaller businesses.

He commented: “The Chancellor has said that a lot of the ring-fencing which currently restricts council spending will be removed.

“This could potentially be helpful to small businesses if town halls use it as an opportunity to direct more resources to supporting their local economies. It could, however, place key support services for local businesses under threat.

“We’ll monitor the situation and, of course, do everything we can to protect the interests of our members.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Images of key Forum spokespeople, along with the Forum’s logo, can be downloaded here.

Twitter account - http://twitter.com/the_fpb

Forum blog - http://blog.fpb.org

LinkedIn group: Small business forum - http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2481461&trk=anet_ug_hm

Follow the Forum’s Chief Executive Phil Orford on Twitter - http://twitter.com/philorford

About the Forum of Private Business

Representing thousands of small businesses across the UK – including retail, service providers and manufacturing companies – the Forum is recognised by the Government as one of the six main business support and lobby groups.

Broadcast media – the Forum has ISDN capability and can provide comment, in quality audio, at short notice. The Forum can also provide journalists with localised and sector-specific case studies.

The Forum is a proactive, not-for-profit organisation, providing comprehensive support, protection and reassurance to small businesses.

The organisation aims to deliver an exceptional service to its members, adding value through the provision of practical, tailored solutions that promote business success, and by being their voice in government.

Media contacts

Chris Gorman
Media and PR Assistant
Tel: 01565 626016
ISDN:    01565 654673
Mobile/out of hours: 07775 756300
Email:    chris.gorman(at)fpb(dot)org

Phil McCabe
Media and PR Manager
Tel: 01565 626019
ISDN: 01565 654673
Mobile/out of hours: 07775 756312
Email:    phil.mccabe(at)fpb(dot)org

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