Lord Sugar may or may not have been fired, but he has been replaced with Lord Young as the government’s latest ‘enterprise tsar’ and charged with reviewing the policy barriers to SME growth.
Lord Young’s remit includes identifying ways that the government can open up finance to SMEs – handing him the troubling brief of prising cash out of the banks, something prime minister David Cameron recently admitted was a problem. And the role mandates Lord Young to “improve the way government listens to the views of SMEs when designing policy” – which may hearten or depress FDs, depending on their level of cynicism.
Financial Director wants to know what FDs think of the appointment – will it make SME life easier or is it just a slick PR move? Let us know at the latest FD Question.
Having served as Margaret Thatcher’s secretary for trade and industry, Lord Young was also president of the Institute of Directors in the early 1990s and had a career in business before and after joining the government.
After practising as a solicitor he became an assistant to the chairman of Great Universal Stores, before setting up his own business. He built up a property and construction company which he sold in 1970 and which was the progenitor to P&O. Becoming chairman of Manufacturers Hanover Property Services, he quit business in the 1980s to take up a role with the Department of Industry.
Leaving government a Life Peer, Lord Young later returned to business as a director of Salomon and executive chairman of Cable & Wireless, leaving the telecoms business in 1995 to found a business investing in technology companies. He has something of a link to SME finance directors, being a key shareholder and chairman of online accounting software provider KashFlow.
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