The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

What’s got 36 sides, is blue and yellow and took a long weekend to make?

At last the Conservative and Lib Dem programme for government has been published.

In the scale of these type of documents it is rather slim at just 36 pages but boy, when you open it up you really do get a sense of the scale of change that both parties are eager to push through.

There are 399 separate issues that the Government has committed to look at, from the very ambitious such as “We will introduce a Freedom Bill” to the more specific “We will double the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000”. Some of you may have spotted a theme appearing here around the phrase “we will” and this is pasted liberally over the document. If you want to see for yourself then click here

It must also be said that there are a lot more broad issues raised than specifics and all underpinned by an ominous sounding caveat on the inside back page about the deficit reduction programme taking precedence over any of the other measures in the programme.

So, accepting that not all 399 issues are immediately relevant to business in Greater Manchester what are the themes that are coming through?

There will be effective proposals developed to ensure a flow of credit to SMEs; there is a definite flavour of a less regulatory type approach for business - promises to end “gold plating”, the bane of European legislation for years, and a move to a one-in one-out rule so that no new regulation is introduced without old regulation being cut.

There is a promise to automate small business rate relief; changes in local partnerships and how local authorities work and a promise of directly elected mayors in the 12 largest English cities of which Manchester is one. Confirmation of High Speed Rail, longer rail franchises and an easier process to start a business.

I could go on…. but I won’t. Instead I’ll borrow a familiar phrase from the document and say what the Chamber will be doing on your behalf.

We will monitor daily the output from government to highlight immediately when further details are announced to support the points in the document.

We will use our expertise to assess the implications and practicalities of the relevant sections.

We will then ask for your comment, help and feedback on the government's proposals and how they impact on you and if they could be improved.

We will make sure that your voice is heard as the genuine wealth creators and will represent your views locally, regionally and nationally. You can email your views to

We will keep you informed of progress and success.

Maybe 394 short but as I've always said, less is more.