Telegraph small business letter

Attempting to re-focus the campaign on the economy, the Tories have kicked the day off with a letter ostensibly from small businesses. It splashes the Telegraph and is co-ordinated by CCHQ, natch:

This is very clearly pitched as being a letter from “small business owners” on behalf of the firms they own — so why do some signatories appear to own, errrr, zero shares in the relevant companies?

“The firms, which employ nearly 100,000 people across the country, have signed a letter which states that they “would like to see David Cameron and George Osborne given the chance to finish what they have started”.

Scrapbook’s non-comprehensive examination of the latest Companies House filings for the first fifty signatories (PDF) throws up:

  • 13: Andres Mesa-Cruz, a ‘sales director’ who didn’t found and apparently doesn’t own a single share in the company
  • 26: Robert Brunton is listed as an ‘associate’ of 414 Timber and Fencing, which perhaps explains why he isn’t a director of and doesn’t own any shares in the company
  • 39: A D Planning Services Ltd has no director or shareholder called Alex Brookes-Ball
  • 40: ‘HR and EHS Manager’ Nicola Knight is not a director of, nor does she own shares in, Oscroft & Sons

This would appear to suggest two things: that this is a letter signed by individuals possibly without with the authorisation or even knowledge of the businesses concerned; and secondly that some of the signatories … don’t actually own a business!

Top due diligence from Tory HQ.

UPDATE: The comedy has begun. Signatories include ‘Stanley Ward Conservative Club’ and a business asking their names to be removed:


  1. I’ve just signed the letter on behalf of a small business I used to run 20 years ago after the Major recession. I’m a member of the Labour Party.

  2. a couple more for you (not explosive but interesting direct links to the Conservatives, which of course they’re entirely free to have!)-

    No. 4679 was a parliamentary candidate for the Tories in 2010-

    No.4463 used to be Head of Print & Design at CCHQ Coleshill-

  3. It was organised by the Tory party. Here’s the letter all MPs received

    Dear [MPs name redacted],

    I hope you saw the intervention from business leaders last week supporting our economic and business policies.

    This business support is a key element of the campaign, and it really is important that we show that businesses of all sizes are behind the Conservatives and our long-term economic plan.

    Baroness Brady, our Small Business Ambassador, is now taking on the task of rallying support from small businesses across the UK behind us.

    Karren and the Chancellor have, therefore, asked me to get in touch with you to ask if you could find at least 20 local businesses, by Friday 17 April, in your constituency to sign up to a letter of support.

    Whether through a local business club or the many visits you have made to small businesses in Portsmouth, I am sure you will have a good idea of people you could ask to support this.

    I have copied out the text of the letter below for your information and local businesses can sign up through this website: < >.

    I do hope your campaign is going well.

    With best wishes,


    Lord Feldman of Elstree
    Chairman of the Conservative Party

  4. Gave up checking after finding a ‘sole trader’ in there. Obviously hasn’t created many jobs in his ‘business’.

  5. Winnah, just to be fair to what appears a rather car crash stunt, a sole trader can be said to have created a job – their own. The problem is that the government continually refers to newly self-employed people as new businesses, which they are in a technical sense, but they are nothing like as formalised as a company with shareholders and directors.

  6. ‘Sole Trader’ just means a self employed person. There is nothing to stop that self employed person hiring staff… it is extremely common. Limited companies are not the default vehicle for running a small business.

  7. I took a brief look through this list and found two non profit organisations, a dormant company, a non existent company. One person works unpaid in a job club and linkedin shows her to be a Tory Councillor and a ‘Canvasser’ for the Tory party for 5 years. There are loads of people who simply work in a business – jobs such as office assistant, admin, shareholder, accounts manager, bookkeeper, recruitment manager. There’s even a football club. A lot of the signatories are simply a partner or director in a business. That doesn’t make them a ‘small business’ as headlined by the Daily Telegraph.

  8. I signed the letter and I own a business which had 12 staff in 2006 when Labour were in power and now has 43. What ideas do Labour have for Small Businesses – NONE

  9. There are several companies on there that are owned by large multinationals. They are, generally, special purpose vehicles that take existing Directors (for example – one takes directors from Samsung and other major engineering firms) and gives them a company to run. No employees, just some outsourced bookkeeping and a brass plate in the IFS Dublin.

    As stunts go this is a car crash.

  10. Tori Smith nice to know that there is merely 0ne of you that might exist , Liers always get found out and it seems The Tory party are very good at this .

  11. peter franzen says:

    At election time the Tories, Labour and Lib-Dems promise everything and then deliver nothing. The truth is that none of them have done anything to help small businesses, most of which are sole traders and unemployed people forced into self employment to qualify for a few miserable subsidies that are not even worth the time it takes to do the paperwork.

  12. There are two on the list who work for NFU Mutual. A mutual is owned by all the members so a great many of them haven’t signed.

  13. The CCHQ form specifically states”We will not share your details with anyone outside the Conservative Party.”


  14. “Aurum Solutions have told the Telegraph “Our Sales Director did not sign the letter in support of the Conservative Party. Please remove signatory 413 immediately”. And there may have been a Data Protection Act breach, too”

    Some others also mentioned in the comments under the post from which the above quote was taken:

    and here too:

  15. Steve Ascott says:

    So many of the “jobs” the Tories claim to have created are people who have claimed self employment in order to be able to get tax credits-it’s just the latest scam by the government to get people off JSA following on from Thatchers policy of getting the unemployed to sign on the sick.
    Signing on for JSA is now a nightmare with workfare, sanctions and the crazy government website with it’s fake jobs -so get together with a few friends and take each others washing in, clean each others windows, look after each others kids etc.All of you register as self employed and can then get tax credits-job centres actively encourage this!

  16. Nicholas Gerrard says:

    Regarding your comment Chris, I am Nicholas Gerrard the proprietor of Nicholas Gerrard Railwayana. Sorry to disappoint you but the business does exist and trades in North Yorkshire.

  17. I signed the letter as under Labour small /medium businesses are constantly held back with red tape and taxation. Even sole traders help in employment, it’s the knock on effect of manufacturing etc.

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