I've run a business in Barnet for 35 years. We are one of the leading studios in London, if not the world. Many world famous artists started their careers rehearsing and recording at our studios. One thing which has struck me over the years is just how bad our local council is at telling the story about what a good place to do business the London Borough of Barnet is. We have great tube and rail connections to London and to the rest of the country and we are ideally placed on the road network as well. We have a great mix of urban developments and green belt, making the borough a great place to live and work. Contrary to the myths of the time, economic prosperity is not generated by housing. It is generated by jobs and business. without this, there would be no economy to support the mortgages and rents. Therefore it is vital that Barnet Council should play its part.
In Barnet, we have a vibrant branch of the Federation of Small Business. Every month, on the first Monday (Yesterday), they hold a networking meeting at Cafe Buzz in Finchley. The meeting is free to attend and dozens of local traders turn up to exchange details and discuss matters. There is a presentation. I was pleased to see a representative from the council at yesterdays meeting. I've recently been lobbying the council to do its part and amongst the suggestions I've made have been]
a) Improve the visibility of business services on the council website
b) Have pictures on the front page of the site talling what a great place Barnet is for business
c) Business friendly parking policies.
d) Better and more identifyable corporate branding
e) Details of local businesses and services in the Borough on teh council website
You may think that point d) is irrelevant, but the NHS style corporate logo for Barnet is tired and looks like the NHS logo. It is ideal for a sick borough. I'd like to see Barnet Council encourage businesses based in Barnet to display the Barnet logo on their website and have a link back to the council pages on what a great place Barnet is to do business (which don't currently exist).
There are many challenges facing the London Borough of Barnet, but local businesses providing local jobs will make a significant difference to solving them. For single parents with school age children, often a local job is the only realistic option to benefits. The more such jobs we create, the less tax we'll all pay. Surely our Conservative cuncil should recognise this and proactively be promoting policies to which create prosperity? Making it easy to do business in the Borough and telling our story would be a good place to start. Every job on the highstreet is potentially one less person claiming benefits and every job destroyed by bad policies such as the Brian Coleman era parking regime is another call on your wallet in tax.
I would like to invite the Leader of the Council, Richard Cornelius to the next Cafe Buzz business network meeting in October, so he can see for himself what the council should be doing and who they should be talking to.