Members of SME Alliance will know we received ‘the letter’ from Baroness Brady and, as a cross party organisation, we sent it to all members so those who wanted to could sign it and show their support for the Conservatives. We have no idea who did or who didn’t as we asked members to reply directly to Karren Brady. However, SME Alliance founder member, Nigel Henderson, who was, until recent years, a staunch Conservative supporter, was fairly incensed by the letter and wrote a reply which we published on our site. http://www.smealliance.org/blog/letter-from-nigel-henderson-to-the-conservative-party
Following the article in the Telegraph last Monday about the 5000 SMEs who did sign the letter, Nigel has written to the editor of the Telegraph. It seems unlikely the Telegraph will publish it.
If other members have written to any of the parties or media expressing their views on the upcoming election and would like us to put it on this site, please feel free to send it. Comment after the election may be too late!
27th April 2015
SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT REPORTED IN TODAY’S PAPER
I refer to the article you published in today’s edition of your paper purportedly to be from the Small Business Community in support of the Conservative Party.
It is very evident that the letter your paper published and hyped on your front page is wholly unrepresentative of the SME sector as a whole. There are approximately 4 Million SMEs in Britain. From the numbers of respondents you have quoted, 5,000 signatories; this only represents 0.13% of the total number of SMEs in Britain.
The letter is not a spontaneous outpouring of support for the Tories from the SME sector but was concocted and choreographed via solicited support from Conservative Small Business Ambassador Karren Brady.
Being part of the small business community I was asked to sign, but I refused. I have continually voted Conservative at every election since I was old enough to vote fifty years ago, up to, and including 2010. However I now feel that over the last five years the Conservatives have abandoned the SME community and I cannot continue to support a Conservative Party that turns its back on and contemptuously dismisses the legitimate concerns of its core supporters.
In particular, David Cameron’s government has done nothing at all to level the playing field between SMEs and their banks and ensure that the former are treated fairly by the latter. Cameron’s government have done nothing to stop banks defrauding their SME customers and putting viable firms out of business in order to plunder their assets and strengthen their own balance sheets. Admittedly a few reforms are coming including the Vickers ringfence, but this will do very little for SMEs, many of which feel they have been hung out to dry by the Government of David Cameron following the edict of his paymasters in the city.
Since first embarking on a business career in 1968, I had expanded my business interests and developed my company into a very profitable enterprise regularly returning net trading profits of c25% of turnover and employing well in excess of 140 employees. All that dramatically changed the moment I had the misfortune of being induced to leave the bankers to my company for decades and become customers of The Royal Bank of Scotland in 1997.
For twelve of the last fifteen years I have felt a lone voice in the wilderness, fighting against blatant corruption and fraud perpetrated on my business by this bank. Only since 2012 has there been any meaningful support now available to me and my family; not may I say from any government source, but from the multitude of other victims of the corruption and fraud of banks in general and of course, RBS in particular, that I have now been able to network with as the full extent of this fraud has become apparent.
I am sure the Conservatives are fully aware of the significant efforts that have been made by SME Alliance Ltd and Bully Banks, to bring to the attention of Regulators, Treasury Select Committee and Government, the conduct of the banks in devastating the Small Business Community, and causing wholesale destruction of businesses that are the mainstay of the economy.
Yet we hear nothing from any of the parties of their determination to address the grave concerns of the SME community of the banking industry’s destruction of their businesses. What is unforgivable from my perspective is the total disdain and disinterest that all the political parties and the Conservatives in particular, being supposed champions of SMEs, has shown in acting and ensuring that this corruption is stopped once and for all, and that those perpetrators are immediately charged and brought to court for their fraudulent conduct.
It is very clear to my fellow SMEs and me that constructive, impartial and very clear evidence of fraudulent conduct by the banks, when presented to the Government at the behest of the BIS, was rapidly dismissed as being seen to upset the cosy relationship existing between the Government and their paymasters. I do of course refer to Tomlinson Report, which, along with the book published last year by author Ian Fraser, called Shredded: Inside RBS the bank that broke Britain, demonstrated the wholesale corruption and scandalous tactics employed by RBS.
There are approximately 20 Million voters employed by the SME sector and it is of course up to each and every small businessman or woman to vote as they wish, however a significant number are very disturbed by what has been happening to their fellow business operators and, through networking, SME Alliance Ltd reaches out to well in excess of 400,000 like minded people. This could have an influence on the outcome of many constituencies in the forthcoming election.
This is an election that is theirs to lose by the Conservatives and lose it they undoubtedly will. There is a weak administration with a weak leadership who only pander to the edict of their paymasters in the city. Those paymasters, like everyone else only have one vote and it is very clear that the disenfranchised among my business colleagues far outnumber the city voters. If, as I predict, the Conservatives do not secure a majority or sufficient votes to form another Government, so be it; the Conservatives only have themselves to blame for ignoring serious issues that are of huge concern to a significant proportion of the electorate.
Finally, you may care to reflect on the question of how many others like me were asked and refused to sign the letter.
Perhaps you may consider including this letter in your Letters column.
Nigel K Henderson