Much to the delight of the Federation for Small Business, who have long called for the creation of such a role, there is now a Minster for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise – ‘a fitting recognition of the huge contribution UK small firms make to the Economy,’ declared the FSB’s statement. Meanwhile, those who have campaigned for greater representation for women in government will doubtless have been pleased to see Anna Soubry appointed to the new role.
Her Road to the Role
Anna Soubry has had previous careers in journalism, TV and criminal law, and as the daughter of a garage owner, not only should she know a thing or two about small business, she should also know a little more about the life lived by those of us who didn’t start life in a private school. Previously a member of the SDP, since becoming a Conservative MP in 2010 she’s been Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Health Minister, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, and most recently Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, a position she was appointed to in July 2014, so she has a wealth of experience in government roles.
According to the gov.uk website, the new minister’s responsibilities will be:
- business sectors (excluding construction, rail, and retail) and advanced manufacturing, including low carbon economy
- competiveness and economic growth, including economic opportunities and shocks
- Business Bank and access to finance
- Green Investment Bank
- deregulation and better regulation
- local and regional growth
- export control
- Royal Mail and the public data group
Famous for her liberal views and being, as James Caan puts it, “always one to speak her mind,” she can be expected to be a bold and down-to-earth advocate for the concerns and interests of small businesses.
“This is a big win for the FSB,” said Mike Cherry, FSB’s National Policy Chairman. “With Anna Soubry’s appointment to Cabinet, small businesses can now feel more confident that their concerns will be heard at the highest level.”
James Caan, CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw, wrote in the Huffington Post: “I’m feeling confident that Soubry has the voice, tenacity and impetus to put forward ideas from the grassroots which will really be heard during future cabinet meetings. The way I see it, her voice is our voice and this is the first step towards building an economy that has British entrepreneurs at its heart.”
High expectations indeed.