THE Government is destroying the red tape and “utter bilge” that makes it harder for small firms to bid for public sector work, according to Tory grandee Lord Young of Graffham.
Lord Young, who is an adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron on Enterprise, also criticised the target set by the previous Labour Government of sending 50 per cent of children to university. He said: “Life isn’t just education. Life is a lot bigger than that.”
Supporters of the 50 per cent target have claimed that it is in the UK’s long term interests to have more highly-skilled graduates.
Lord Young, who was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in the Thatcher government, helped to draw up the new Enterprise Passport scheme, which aims to help tackle the skills shortage by listing a student’s extra curricular activities. As a result, it’s hoped employers will gain a more rounded view of a student’s abilities. The 82-year-old peer has also helped to devise a scheme which means that all head teachers will be offered an enterprise adviser, who will bring speakers in to schools to motivate pupils. Lord Young told The Yorkshire Post that red tape preventing small businesses from winning Government contacts will be stripped away. The pre-qualification questionnaire, or PQQ, will be shelved or simplified, depending on the value of the contract, and public sector contacts will be advertised on a new portal.
Lord Young said: “PPQ can sometimes be 30 to 40 pages of utter bilge. We’re just about to launch this one site called ‘contracts finder’ where every single public sector contract is postcoded.”
A crackdown on late payments is also being launched this month, which means that all public bodies will have a legal duty to pay within 30 days. Banks will also be encouraged to lend to small firms via the Funding for Lending Scheme. Lord Young is a fan of old-fashioned bank managers.
He said: “The problem started 30 years ago when banks introduced computers and they moved managers out of branches..I understand Santander and Metro are putting managers back in branches. It makes an enormous difference. The manager knows what’s going on.”
“Thirty two years ago, I introduced YTS (the Youth Training Scheme),’’ he added. “I noticed that, time after time, young people come out of school with nothing but pick up skills in the workplace in 10 days, because they understand the relevance of what they are doing.”
Lord Young said he had no plans to retire, but added: “There is a minor technicality about who wins the election first. I don’t think Ed (Miliband) would want me there.”