Politicians going back to work through new Business Buddy scheme

Minister set for stint in pie shop under work experience programme

Politicians across Britain will be doing work experience with local small businesses this summer, as part of a new initiative from the Forum of Private Business (FPB).

The ‘Business Buddy’ scheme, which is backed by business minister Mark Prisk, will place MPs, as well as members of the Scottish parliament and Welsh Assembly, on short placements with firms in their constituency.

The FPB hopes each MP will spend at least half a day with a local firm during the scheme, which runs throughout parliament’s summer recess, and gain a clearer understanding of the challenges facing everyday firms.

Over 100 MPs have already signed up to the scheme, including cabinet office minister Oliver Letwin, who will spend time at a pie shop in Dorset.

Prisk himself completed an extensive period of work experience earlier this year, as part of his attempt to promote small business throughout the country.

The Forum’s head of campaigns, Jane Bennett, said: “It’s all well and good for lobby groups like the Forum to tell the government about the issues facing small businesses, but there’s no substitute for first-hand experience.

“We want politicians to see for themselves what it’s like to run a small business – that’s why we developed the Business Buddy scheme.”

Bennett added that, while the recent increase in MPs with commercial backgrounds “is to be welcomed”, politicians still need greater understanding of business and its related challenges.

“Different types of companies can face very different problems, and the legislation imposed on business is constantly changing, so we hope every MP, MSP and AM is able to give just a few hours of their time to take part in Business Buddy.”



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