What a shocker!

 We are taught by Cameron to regard small businesses as the engine room of entrepreneurial spirit in the UK. We are led to believe that their inventions, wealth creation and profits lead to employment and growth. But this is the stuff of fantasy. Three quarters of the 4.5million businesses in the UK employ no one.  Their wealth creation serves their own ends. They create no jobs and do nothing to solve youth unemployment. The vast majority of small businessmen are in business for themselves. Evidence of civic virtue or a desire to create jobs is in preciously short supply and thus Cameron was wrong to shrug off record rises in youth unemployment as something that could readily be solved by small business.

Eoin finds out that the UK has 3.3 million self-employed people.

30 thoughts on “What a shocker!”

  1. So 1.2 million small business that do employ people. If half of them took on (were persuaded through tax incentives) one young person then youth unemployment problem would be solved.

  2. Note the standard lack of understanding of the purpose of business, and what value is and how it is created. In particular- and this is classic anglo-socialism- the purpose of a business is to create work, not goods and services. The shadow of Calvinism is very long indeed.

  3. This time I have to say it. What a git!

    First of all, if they are in business for themselves you should bloodly well thank them, not denigrate them for going it alone with far more risk to their health,wealth and retirement.

    Does he really think they are all making a fortune and deliberately stuffing everybody else?

    Secondly, many will eventually create companies, or take on people or create a network of people working in the same area of espertise and yes they create employment.

    It is frightening how far removed from reality this sort of pontificating idiot really is. He should be allowed near an internet connection.

  4. I don’t hink he’s having a go at the self employed, just questioning the logic that private enterprise can pick up the jobs as easily as is needed.

    It is proving to be fantasy, daily.

  5. And equally, many won’t employ anyone, ever. There’s nothing wrong with that. They are working to support themselves and their families, just as people who have “jobs” do. If a self-employed person’s work volume increases to the point where they need assistance they will employ someone, maybe – or simply turn down work, as I do. Or get their family members to help. And there’s nothing wrong with that, either. Not everyone wants to have the hassle of employing and managing staff.

    It is not the responsibility of the self-employed to provide employment for others, any more than it is the reponsibility of employed people. I am self-employed and do not employ anyone, nor do I have any plans to do so. In Eoin’s world, I guess I am short of “civic virtue”, aren’t I?

    Oh, and his statement “the vast majority of small businessmen are in business for themselves” is simply silly. It isn’t “the vast majority”. It’s ALL of them, you berk.

  6. About ten years ago I did some primary research on this for professional reasons – in the UK large companies (>250 people, from memory), medium (25-250) and small (<25 employee) companies employ roughly a third of the workforce each; large companies employ many more people *each* but there are so many more small companies that it evens out

  7. In business for themselves! Think of that!

    I mean they might earn money making or supplying something others want.. Then they might spend that money buying goods and services from others. They might be really successful and pay loads of tax.

    The villains.

  8. He’s a nut and doesn’t seem to want to publish any of my gentle and polite comments. 🙁

    Quite why 3.3m people being “one man bands” is a bad thing is obscure – that is 3.3m people who aren’t claiming unemployment benefit, 3.3m people who are not competing with unemployed people for the limited number of jobs that are available.

    He gives a example of a small town photographer whose daughters and wife do menial administrative tasks for him and describes the photographer as exploiting labour. That the daughters and wife in the example would generally tend to be offended by someone saying that the photographer was exploiting them or that they were to him merely “labour” hasn’t occurred. Nor that the only social benefit of making them employees would be to get them as a family to pay rather a lot more tax (although realistically, if there were any plans to have more children or grandchildren it would be sensible to pay them enough to get above the NI threshold so they got statutory maternity pay from the state…).

  9. Botzarelli: he doesn’t publish my comments either – he seems to not like when people poke holes in his arguments.

  10. I’m one of those one man band businessman. I don’t employ anybody but I have a reasonable turnover that for the most part goes to freelancers or other small businesses. I have a catalogue of writers, designers, programmers, account managers and I farm work out to them as appropriate. It seems like a completely reasonable and lean method of running a business. The trick is in making the leap from one man band to a sizable company. It’s not easy and you need investment, a full order book and clients who can see potential in using a small company that’s growing. I’m about to make that leap and hopefully employ something in the region of 10 people. Conincidentally, the growth of my company is a direct result of the public sector trying to find cheaper ways to provide core services as a result of cutbacks.

    So in summary, more jobs, greater efficiency and a method of self funding for the public sector! Not bad for a one man band.

    Oh! and to top it off – I employ working mothers who need to juggle child care, school etc with a need to exercise their brains. The money is almost secondary (although they’re also paid well).

    What an arsehole! Crawl back in your hole.

  11. He’s proven idiot! So when he writes up his accounts for the year i trust that he takes into account all those family members he pays dividends too? Or is he in it just for himself?

  12. Those 3.3 million self-employed might employ a lot of people if it were not for the endless, moronic laws beloved of leftists that make it difficult and possibly damaging to try employing people.

  13. *Botzarelli: he doesn’t publish my comments either – he seems to not like when people poke holes in his arguments.*


  14. Arnald said: “I don’t hink he’s having a go at the self employed, just questioning the logic that private enterprise can pick up the jobs as easily as is needed.”

    Eoin, in keeping with many politicians it would appear, seems to have overlooked the blindingly obvious – unemployed people becoming self-employed. A bit of a gamble yes, but not impossible. They do not *need* a job to walk into and certainly don’t *need* a public sector job or subsidised private sector job to walk into.

    ChrisM said: “By my calulcations 3.3 million one man bands = 3.3 million jobs.”

    Oh no. A job is only something that can be provided. You cannot create your own. It is impossible. Only a benevolent state or malevolent tax evading capitalist pig can do that.

  15. Its interesting how so many commentators here are attacking this point based on an assumption that Eoin is denigrating small business holders. I don’t know who Eoin is, but it seems clear to me that he is simply stating that the Government is on a hiding to nothing if they think small businesses are, or can be, a large scale generator of employment. The writer is stating the obvious about SME’s, but seems to be a simple framing device to his larger criticism of David Cameron. I am a director of a small business (7 employees) and there is virtually no scope for employing anyone beyond our current amount. It seems to me that big employers and those in dynamic markets are the best drivers of employment at this time. Or the government needs to invest in the economy for us, but that is not going to happen any time soon.

  16. “I’m one of those one man band businessman. I don’t employ anybody”

    How do you sleep at night?

    I’m one of those sainted individuals who employ people (about 20). I’m just bringing out a young graduate from the UK and paying him (no disadvantaged groups with appropriate qualifications) about 50k UK money basic but about 70k with bonuses. I’m just full of civic virtue, although as Dudley Moore might have said in Arthur, being a (paper) multi-millionaire doesn’t suck.

    Only joking, Kevin, I hope your expansion plans work out well for you and your new employees and that you reap the rewards your enterprise and risk taking deserve.

    There can never be enough of us evil, exploitative capitalists. Welcome to the club.

  17. thomasz,

    According to government figures, in 2009, over 48% of employees were employed by small enterprises. That is a big number.

    I don’t know what you do, but if you’ve had the balls to employ 7 people, think about other opportunities.

    I’m one of 6 partners who employ a little over 100 people. We just opened a new division in an entirely new area that is already up to 5 people. A nearly 5% growth in under 4 months. Before the end of the year we’ll open a new division that will add about 20% to our business. Okay, I’m in Australia, but small businesses can become medium businesses, it is all about vision and desire.

  18. is this for real, y’know, as a means of economic growth? Rilly?

    “…overlooked the blindingly obvious – unemployed people becoming self-employed. A bit of a gamble yes, but not impossible.”

    and to top it

    “Only a benevolent state or malevolent tax evading capitalist pig can do that.”

    Not only a fantasist, but a tired and blind fantasist.

  19. So over 11% of the jobs in this country, way more than even the NHS, are provided by self-employment? And this is a bad thing?

    And we can be fairly sure these are, to somebody at least, productive jobs (even though George Monbiot is one of them). You need people to give you work when you’re an SME and there’s not an awful lot of room for Diversity Empowerment Coordinators or similar unproductive rubbish when there are only one or two of you.

    Of the 4.5 million businesses in the UK, three quarters of them employ no one (yes no one)

    Are the lefty morons sure? You’d think that they each employ 1 person. Who would otherwise be looking for a job elsewhere or on benefits.

    250,000 small businessmen employ their wife for a salary of £0.00p per annum.

    Then their accountants are idiots. My wife receives an identical salary to me (working full-time, with day release for her research). It’s called minimising the tax take (we don’t currently pay ourselves enough to need to worry about gaming higher tax versus lower NI payments.)

    250,000 small businessmen employ workers whom they pay below the national minimum wage.

    Then they are crooks. Unless, of course, these are exactly the same 250,000 as above (£0ph being less than the NMW.)

    It’s analogous to the, thankfully fading, view up here that if it doesn’t involve heavy machinery, misogyny and over-powerful unions then it can’t be a real job.

  20. Unimportant Quibbler

    Another one man band here. Again, occasionally bits and bobs need a freelancer (so I supppose I am supporting the “nonwork” of others as Eoin would see it) but not at the stage where I need an employee. The thought has crossed my mind in terms of future expansion… but every time I look at the legal hoops, it looks utterly infeasible.

    Is it true that in the US, very small businesses are allowed to treat employees as effectively self-employed freelancers, and just record a receipt of how much they get paid with the workers then paying their own taxes etc? Would make life a lot simpler.

  21. As one of those businesses that ’employs no one’ , I do often engage the services of other independent contractors – but to take on an employee would be massively, prohibitavely, expensive.

  22. @ Arnald
    Employment growth mostly comes from small businesses hiring extra people. This is the result found by almost every survey that has ever been carried out on the subject. Either Eoin is grossly ignorant about the subject on which he is posting or he is being deliberately misleading.
    Take your pick.
    Since he has suppressed my polite comment pointing out the facts, my view is now tending towards the latter.

  23. “Eoin Clarke said…

    Duke F,

    Not paying your wife, keeps the money out of her pocket and keeps her under control.

    Have you any conception of patriarchy? 6 million women in the UK have received domestic abuse, making them work for nothing in the cause of keeping a business afloat is really just the tip of the ice berg..

    It is also the fact that £17,000,000,000 tax a year goes unpaid by the same businessmen, and that 20% of these companies are registered in tax havens..

    To top it all off, Cameron claimed these companies would spearhead a drop in unemployment.. That after all was the key point of my post.. but of course you chose to ignore that comment.
    14 October 2011 11:23 ”

    Errrr….HTF do you comment on that?

  24. bloke in Spain

    Fascinating. Eoin obviously hasn’t considered the possibility that quite a few of these micro-business owners are businessWOMEN, not men….Of course we women abuse our husbands’ free assistance. That’s what husbands are for, innit – to do the numbers (wot our little brains can’t cope with) and the heavy lifting (wot our muscles can’t do). Oh, and the DIY and gardening. And the washing up. And the hoovering. And look after the kids while we’re working. Matriarchy rules!

  25. @ Frances Coppola
    I’m game for everything in that list except looking after the younger kid, but my wife insists on doing the gardening and some of the DIY. The reason for the heavy lifting is not so much our muscles but that we are heavier so not pulled off balance by a heavy lift.
    Truth is stranger than fiction: my (highly intelligent) wife, who isn’t self-employed, once ‘phoned me* to do a sum for her boss on the grounds that that would be quicker than said boss trying to do it herself, using an electronic calculator!! That was OK but I was completely stumped when she followed up by asking me how to do it with a calculator: I didn’t have a clue.
    *She didn’t have my big sister’s number to hand – she could have done it as fast and, because she volunteers several hours a week teaching computing skills to ethnic minority kids, could have answered the follow-up question.

  26. Numbskull column written by someone who can’t even spell his own name, Owen, correctly. What a shock.

  27. Ta for that info, David. I’d got the idea it was a poof version of Ian. If I ever do comment over there I’d like to misspell his name correctly.

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