- Jasmine: People who were told to think about their own mortality were more receptive to the idea of having cosmetic surgery than those who weren't (11th Jun 2013 - 18:05)
- Jasmine: @mcrcommuter Good point - it usually gets passed on to us (11th Jun 2013 - 17:49)
- Jasmine: @ajmajid Yes. I don't understand young people taking up smoking - makes no sense! (11th Jun 2013 - 17:48)
- Jasmine: effects of passive smoking on children costs the NHS £23m a year by causing 300,000 GP visits and 9,500 hospital admissions. (11th Jun 2013 - 17:41)
- Jasmine: RT @EdConwaySky: The financial nitroglycerine buried under the Bank of England. Quick blog: http://t.co/P18zbR4KtQ (11th Jun 2013 - 15:50)
- Jasmine: @pinkiejones Actually yes, they probably are! (11th Jun 2013 - 15:00)
- Jasmine: @iansearle lol! (11th Jun 2013 - 15:00)
- Jasmine: @photostrada Sadly, yes! (11th Jun 2013 - 13:28)
- Jasmine: @will_becker True! (11th Jun 2013 - 13:27)
- Jasmine: @pensionschamp Interesting! (11th Jun 2013 - 12:29)
- Jasmine: @neiljamesh Certainly looks like it± (11th Jun 2013 - 12:28)
- Jasmine: @emmalporter Yes, prob too expensive too (11th Jun 2013 - 12:27)
- Jasmine: 10% of secondary pupils think tomatoes grow underground (11th Jun 2013 - 12:27)
- Jasmine: 29% of primary school pupils think cheese comes from plants; 1 in 5 think main ingredient in fish fingers is chicken; (11th Jun 2013 - 12:27)
- Jasmine: @pensionschamp I wonder! (11th Jun 2013 - 11:57)
- Jasmine: @pensionschamp Good point! I'm slipping - yes, ultimately it will cost us! (11th Jun 2013 - 11:56)
- Jasmine: Not one office in the Shard is being rented; its only occupants are a restaurant and a viewing gallery (72 storeys empty) (11th Jun 2013 - 11:55)
- Jasmine: RT @liamdutton: A wet few days lie ahead as areas of low pressure form an orderly queue to the SW of the UK - http://t.co/iTGWklTamm (11th Jun 2013 - 11:55)
- Jasmine: Around 50 per cent of all whiplash claims arising from car crashes are fraudulent - costs the industry £1 billion a year (11th Jun 2013 - 11:50)
- Jasmine: RT @scaryduck: Vladimir Putin's getting a divorce. I think that's all his midlife crisis boxes ticked http://t.co/0tUQUpMRzF (7th Jun 2013 - 08:35)
A budget for business enterprise…? Not more business initiatives and acronyms?
March 12, 2012
So just how many company finance initiatives do you think we have? Political leaders have, over the years, taken great pride in launching their own initiative, their pet idea – new fresh and different from the last one – mainly because it was ‘invented here’. They then go on to rubbish the fading and failing predecessor and show how their idea is better. Its title? Well, you can simply put your hand into a scrabble bag and come out with some odd letters and there you have it – created in a party think tank, designed by Whitehall and ignored by everyone.
So I have made a small effort to try and identify the current crop of acronyms and jumbled letters. Now I can’t be sure that this is a complete list, as no doubt there are some other economic initiatives that the Ministry of Ministerial Affairs has developed that I have not been made aware of.
The list is quite extensive, with seven as far as I can see. With the Budget nearly upon us, we can all hear a consistent theme of business focus and investment and the tired phrase of ‘joined up thinking’. I believe the intentions behind each of these initiatives are worthy ones however, upon asking business people about them you find a huge disconnect.
- National Loan Guarantees Scheme – NLGS (credit easing) up to £20bn of bank guarantees. Seems to have got off to a slow start as SMEs say banks are slow or reluctant to take up the scheme.
- Business Finance Partnership – BFP £1bn. Government to invest alongside private investors.
- Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme – EFGS £2bn. So far, since 2008, £1.4bn has gone to 13,900 companies and another £2bn announced (complaints from some applicants that this is failing as banks still want personal guarantees on top of the government scheme!).
- Export Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme – EEFGS. Launched April 2011 but so far only 5 loans made for £2.9m of trade! It is now to be merged into the UK Export Finance’s schemes (ECGD).
- Enterprise Capital Funds – ECF – a Quango run by Capital for Enterprise awarded an additional £300m in March 2011.
- Regional Growth Fund – RGF £2.4bn; so far 140 businesses have received £190m.
- Business Growth Fund – BGF £2.5bn, launched in May 2011,a bank led fund but so far funded only 4 projects.
Confused? Not surprising.
Roughly this adds up to something over £30bn, which is a considerable amount of firepower – but I wonder just how many people know about all or any of these and where and how they may be applicable. Judging by the number of them, there must be a small office somewhere in Whitehall dedicated to just dreaming up names for new initiatives.
Just imagine then what could happen if such financial muscle was concentrated in an effective manner? That would be a dramatic display of strength.
Perhaps I could suggest some equally baffling acronyms that they should consider which might be more appropriate. Possibly the British Unrestricted Growth Guarantee Enterprise Reserve - Overseas Funding Facility. This would focus on our exports and be designed to get all of those in the way, out of the way and thus achieving a practical use for the acronym.
To this you could also add the very officious action team whose task would be to blow away the red tape and petty bureaucracy that holds up so much planning and development. Again the acronym seems to fit here for the Strategic Opportunity Direct Development Initiative Taskforce.
The serious and key point here though is all about focus – being able to directly apply financial support and initiative is not as easy as it sounds. Good ideas may filter through just as water does through porous rock, but they take years to see any effect. Such initiatives must not just be able to make some tangible difference but just as importantly be seen to be doing so. Such issues directly effect that economic turnkey – confidence.
Trouble in Athens? Well that’s hardly news, except that the Athens I am talking about is in Illinois USA. The Governor, Pat Quinn, says the state has to face a ‘rendezvous with reality’ to try and manage its appalling budgetary situation. One of the benefits of an effectively run single currency is that the individual sins of the member states can be, to a great extent, covered by the comfort blanket of the Fed, but this doesn’t stop them having to be addressed. Rather different to the still-being knitted string vest that is the structure of the Euro for the moment.
Underfunded pension costs and the funding of the Medicaid programme all are likely to be seen as core to the problems. Swingeing cuts would seem to be the proposed actions with $2.7bn being taken of Medicaid (about a 20% cut!) and then there is the problem of a $86bn shortfall in the State’s public pension fund.
Illinois seems Greek but for the language however, there are other states with higher levels of state debt per head to address. Connecticut has a debt burden of $4,859 per person, with Massachusetts on their heels at $4,606 per head. Compare that with Nebraska which has $15 per head!
If you take the national debt figures, Greece stands at around $38,937 per head compared to the US at $44,215 per head. There is one key difference though – the US economy is growing and the Greek economy has effectively been in recession for the past four years with little sign of recovery.
And finally… following on from last week’s intriguing ‘corruption tours’ in Prague proving so popular, I don’t know if you saw the latest draw for tourism in Britain – yes we have the Jubilee, the Olympics, the Titanic anniversay and the International Piping Festival (I am not sure if that is bag or cakes) – but that’s not enough because we have an opportunity that some (although few I would suggest) may find even more enthralling…
The M25 is something most of us avoid at all costs. But one coach company has started offering sightseeing tours of London’s notorious ring road for £15 a go – and it’s already a sell out.
The Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company is offering the 117-mile trip, and has confirmed that it is fully booked for its first excursion in March. Due to popular demand, it has added on new dates in April and May.
Daytrippers will be treated to a running commentary of fascinating facts as they are transported along the ring road, taking in ‘highlights’ including Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5, the Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex, Epping Forest and the Dartford River Crossing Bridge.
The company estimates that the round trip will take four hours, although anyone with experience of the M25 will know that this is optimistic. The orbital is so notorious among drivers for its congestion and constant roadworks that is has been dubbed ‘Britain’s biggest carpark’.
Speaking in the Daily Star, coach firm spokesman Simon Ashcroft said: “I think the M25 is worth looking at in more depth, especially now there are new services being built at Cobham in Surrey.”
Also AOL Travel is on a mission to find the UK’s worst day trips – The top five so far:
- The Cumberland Pencil Museum, Keswick
- Bournemouth Sewage Works Tour, Dorset
- Teapot Island, Kent
- Woodhenge, Wiltshire
- The British Lawnmower Museum, Southport
Why go anywhere else?
Have a good week.
Justin Urquhart Stewart
Seven Investment Management Limited