Business anger over Government's "work harder" jibe
BUSINESS leaders in Gloucestershire have condemned comments from Government ministers that they should "work harder and stop whingeing".
They said the remarks were stupid and did little to encourage new entrepreneurs and economic growth.
Foreign Secretary William Hague opened the assault, rejecting claims from business leaders that the Government lacked a growth strategy
Mr Hague said they should stop complaining and get on with the business of wealth creation.
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The only answer to Britain's economic woes was to "work hard."
And Defence Secretary Philip Hammond pitched in, accusing large firms of being unwilling to take risks to invest in the country's economic recovery.
"Large businesses are sitting on a pretty large pile of cash," said Mr Hammond on BBC Radio 5Live. "What we have got to try and do is persuade businesses to take the plunge."
Asked if he was accusing businesses of whingeing, he replied: "They are, yes, I suppose in a way, whingeing about it."
But yesterday Richard Perry, chairman of the Gloucestershire branch of the Institute of Directors, said he was astonished at the Government ministers' remarks.
"I am quite amazed," said Mr Perry. "I don't disagree that only businesses can create growth.
"But the way they have put this is stupid. Their job (the Government) is to create the environment for growth.
"It is still very difficult to borrow money and the underlying confidence is not there.
"There is still much more the Government could do to encourage business.
"They have to give the entrepreneurs of the future the incentives they need."
And Mark Owen, chairman of the Gloucester branch of the Federation of Small Businesses said: "These are crazy statements for the Government to come out with.
"This Government can do its part to help make it easier for businesses to employ people by cutting red tape and regulations that are huge disadvantages for companies."
The Government also had to get banks lending and introduce legislation to force bigger companies to pay smaller businesses on time, he added.
â There was encouraging news in the latest monthly Bank Data Set figures which indicates start up business activity.
The number of business bank accounts opened was 102 in both Gloucester and Stroud, followed by 86 in Cheltenham, 79 in Cotswold district, 61 in the Forest of Dean and 57 in Tewkesbury.
Councillor Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: "For Gloucester's economy to succeed we need more businesses to start up and grow.
"It's an area where we have not performed as well as we would have liked in the past so the latest figures are encouraging. They are, however, only one month's statistics, so we need to continue to do everything we can to encourage new business in the city."