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Anyone running a business over the past two years has had to make hard cost-saving decisions, ranging from the difficult task of shedding labour, to nitpicking over the price of filters or mobile phone contracts. We have done all we can to keep going, despite being hit by obscene rises in fuel costs, business rates and other charges.

There is a whole raft of costs dictated by statute that we can all do without, and none is more unfair to businesses than the unsavoury BID (Business Improvement District) Levy, which I discussed back in December 2008. It is a classic example of jobs for the inept and I am pleased to see that, in some areas of the country, businesses are waking up to the fact that they CAN do something to stop the spread of this unwelcome initiative, which only seeks to provide something you should get anyway in return for your business rates.

Many of us have new MPs who will be anxious to make a name for themselves. Please find time to write to your MP and ask their views on the BID and other topics of contention. A letter from an individual business is worth a hundred of the ‘round robin’ efforts supporting well-

publicised grievances. The new order has got to cut their costs, and ours, if they mean business. With diesel prices looming up to £1.30 a litre in some areas, now is the time to pile on the pressure. Tell your MP how many people you employ and how long you have been in their area. Many will take your comments on board. Surely it’s worth a first class stamp to put your business, and our industry, on the political map.


I am pleased to report that my efforts last time on the Which? survey generated several responses. To those of you who expressed the indignation that was extant over 30 years ago, I have to say, “Get real”. Which? might put a slant on its findings, but there is no excuse for bad practice when we have had a long time to put our house in order.

Amongst the more interesting responses was one from a hirer who considered my tirade at the boards of the larger groups sexist, as I addressed them as “gentlemen”! Well, it’s a fact that all of the large quoted hire groups have male-only boards. My female fitter, Sam, commented that the routine checking of equipment was a task that was more likely to be treated with greater diligence by her than her male counterparts!


I cornered Big Fred and my other merry men and asked them, very bluntly, whether they considered routine service and testing to be a task they took seriously. To a man they knew why it was important, but they admitted it was a bore. They would sooner tear an engine apart (whether it needed it or not) than test a couple of dozen power tools.

They would all happily let Samantha undertake all routine testing if they could get away with it. However, when all is said and done, Sam is far and away a better fitter than most of them, having been brought up working on classic American motorcycles! It does suggest that our industry may be missing out by not encouraging more women to join us on the technical side of our businesses. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56
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