Calling on Britain’s army of self-employed and micro business owners to back his mission, Tony Robinson OBE has set himself the task of stopping the ‘corporate thieves’ who receive billions of pounds worth of government contracts, funding and support while giving a raw deal to their suppliers, their local communities and, often, their workforce and customers too.
Robinson cites the desperation of business owners that cannot afford to refuse invoice terms extended to 60 days or more and employees that have to accept less than the living wage or part time and zero hours contracts from these large corporates. The self-styled crusading enterprise expert reckons ‘enough is enough’: “It’s not about new legislation or more government inquiries after they’ve ripped everyone off. It’s simple – either stop funding them or negotiate a better deal for their suppliers and employees before you release any money to them.”
In an open letter to the Hon Dr Vincent Cable (Government) and Chuka Umunna (Opposition), the MicroBizMatters Champion and Co-founder of the Enterprise Rockers Community notes that the last three Governments have directed billions of pounds towards the handful of big businesses that rule each sector. This policy, he says has a hugely negative impact on the majority of the UK economy, 95% of which is made up of micro businesses of less than ten employees.
“Many of these large corporations, in receipt of government contracts, funding and support steal from suppliers by paying their bills in an average of 68 days – through unfair contract terms and/or late payment. Many ordinary employees of these larger corporations are not on a living wage because of rates of pay or restrictive part time or zero hour contracts while paying their executives, often obscene, salaries, bonuses and perks.
“As has been highly publicised, many do not pay a fair amount in corporation tax and/or regional/local community levies. They get away with it because successive Governments have allowed it. Government can and should specify that they’re not going to release any money to these corporations unless they pay all their suppliers within 30 days and all their employees the living wage.”
The petition, entitled ‘UK Government: Stop Funding The Corporate Thieves’ also calls for a withdrawal of funding and contracts to any corporation that returns to unfair practices. If it is found that they are still treating suppliers and employees unfairly there should be financial penalties.
Mr Robinson adds: “Getting cash flowing throughout UK enterprise and hardworking people getting a living wage is vital. My petition is important because it creates a fairer enterprise and employment environment for the majority of businesses in the UK – and it will help local communities to thrive too.
“Whilst we can’t stop political leaders, of any political party, supporting the biggest companies we can insist that in return for government funding, support and procurement that more employed and self-employed people get a better deal. It will enable more start-ups and micro enterprises (the 95% of all businesses in the UK) to survive and thrive. It will mean fairer wages for millions of employees and will allow more local independent enterprising communities to flourish.”
To sign the petition, visit http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/uk-government-stop-funding-the-corporate-thieves