Noted entrepreneur urges government to help small business by cutting red tape
James Caan urges regulation reform
LONDON – April 2012 – Government must stop piling unnecessary and often silly rules and regulations on top of small businesses if the economy is to grow, said noted businessman and entrepreneur James Caan.
"It’s not the government’s role to create jobs, that’s the role of small business and entrepreneurs. Government needs to get out of the way and let us do what we do best,” Caan said.
Caan, considered one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs, cited examples such as requiring a £35 poisons license to sell toilet descaler or ant killer and requiring a booze license to sell chocolate liqueurs but then prohibiting them next to lingerie.
Opening a new warehouse in Britain takes up to 18 months versus only four in Germany, he added.
The Labour Party’s numerous employment laws directed at small and medium-sized businesses are strangling economic growth, Caan said.
He cited a survey of business managers who said eliminating just one of 10 of these onerous rules were repealed, businesses would save so much money they could create up to 250,000 new jobs.
"Given the current economic climate, the recession and the job losses around us all, I believe now is a great time to start a business. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and the government is creating a number of initiatives and making more allowances for SMEs to stimulate an environment of entrepreneurship,” Caan said in a recent interview.
Caan, CEO of venture capital and investment firm Hamilton Bradshaw, said proposed EU regulations, to which ministers had agreed, included handing equal holiday and sick pay rights to agency workers at an estimated cost of £1.5 billion.
Caan cited Institute of Directors head Simon Walker, who said more red tape makes growing the economy more difficult.
Caan also cited a study by the FSB and ESBA that concluded EU regulations cost businesses 123.8 billion euros a year, 3.5 percent of the EU’s annual GDP.
The declaration was tabled by a cross party group of MEPs. It calls upon EU institutions to halt the introduction of unnecessary and excessive regulations and rules which, far from increasing EU’s economic competitiveness, serve as a barrier to growth and employment.
Caan said Prime Minister David Cameron’s announced plans to "kill off the health and safety culture for good” by abolishing or consolidating up to half of existing regulations was "a good start,” if the prime minister does indeed follow through on his statements.
Caan supports the Federation of Small Businesses and the European Small Business Alliance’s recently tabled declaration in the European Parliament urging a halt to excessive rules and regulations affecting small firms.
"Chancellor Osborne has declared that red tape reform has saved businesses £3.3 billion but think about that. That means those rules and regulations, prior to their repeal, were costing businesses £3.3 billion. I could put a lot of people to work with £3.3 billion,” said Caan, CEO of the venture capital and investment firm Hamilton Bradshaw.
Caan also noted a British Chambers of Commerce survey where 1,200 small and medium-sized businesses said they felt "choked” by government regulations.
He said the BCC has estimated allowing employees to request flexible working hours will cost businesses £4.8 million a year. The "working time directive,” which gives employees extra time off if they become ill on holiday, could cost small businesses an estimated £102.9 million a year, Caan added.
Caan said experts have estimated EU regulations alone have drained £124 billion from the UK economy since 1998.
Caan’s latest book, "Start Your Business In 7 Days” http://www.penguin.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780670920648.html literally is flying off the shelves of UK bookstores following its March 1 release.
Caan said he took the time to write a book that takes people through the entrepreneur’s journey and helps them understand the difference between a hobby, a lifestyle and a real business.
Reviewer John Vincent, co-founder of "Leon Management Today,” said of the book, "Caan shows a real desire to help the reader. His insights have substance. I like the balance between theory, deep practicality and psychology.”
ABOUT JAMES CAAN
James Caan is one of the UK’s most successful and dynamic entrepreneurs. He is the founder and CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw, based in Mayfair, London. The company was founded in 2004 and specialises in buyouts, venture capital, turnarounds and real estate investment in the UK.
Caan knew from a young age he wanted to run his own business. His father probably was his biggest influence. He owned successful leather goods manufacturing business and hoped James would one day take over. Caan decided not to pursue a career in the family business and instead followed his own path to become an entrepreneur. At sixteen, he left school with no qualifications. Despite this, in the mid-1980s, he began a successful career in recruitment. Just a few years later, Caan founded Alexander Mann, a UK recruitment business which he successfully grew to £130m turnover with 30 offices worldwide. During the same period, Caan was keen to explore the international market and launched Humana International, a franchising model, establishing 147 offices in 30 countries. He sold both businesses in 1999.
In 2007, Caan was invited to join a panel of the highly popular BBC TV show "Dragon’s Den.” During his time on the show, Caan invested in a diverse range of businesses and, as a result, increased his profile in the media. Caan always has believed the UK is an excellent platform for British entrepreneurs, and that advances in technology provide today’s entrepreneurs with many more opportunities than when he started out. He is passionate about the SME sector and understands their challenges.
Caan has worked on a number of projects to support the British entrepreneur. He is currently working with Business Secretary Vince Cable as a member of the Entrepreneur’s Forum to help and advise government on the new business policies.