Small and medium-sized business in England and Wales should be right at the heart of this year’s local elections, business leaders – including one of the founders of Silicon Valley – have said this week.
Mark Hoffman, who helped set up a string of companies in Silicon Valley before heading into UK business with Oxygen Finance Ltd said: “Regardless of political persuasion, the first move that any councillor in England or Wales should make is to secure long-term benefits for small and medium-sized businesses in their area.
“Local authorities have a responsibility to champion entrepreneurs, and promote geographic areas, but they can also look at their own suppliers and think about bringing in local businesses to carry out council functions and contracts.”
Oxygen Finance has worked with a number of local authorities, from Oldham to Bristol, to help establish a better supplier and customer relationship between councils and their local businesses. The idea is built on working together to provide a better service locally, whilst also creating an income for the council to spend on frontline services, through a rebate system for using local suppliers.
Inefficiency and unnecessary delays in the speed of payment processes can undermine supplier relationships and serves to ultimately hold back economic growth. Oxygen recently estimated that if all local authorities and the NHS were to implement an Early Payment Programme, such as the plan implemented in Oldham, where suppliers are paid within 0-10 days, the income generated for the taxpayer could be enough to build 10 new hospitals.