‘It’s time to bring back Sid to help small firms’

High-powered business gurus from Bedfordshire believe bringing back Sid could give small businesses (SMEs) a vital cash injection.

The phrase “If you see Sid, tell him” was used to promote the privatision of British Gas in the 1980s but now The Drury Report proposes pension funds should invest in small firms.

City financeer Tony Drury, from Leighton Buzzard, initiated the report which has been backed by South West Beds MP Andrew Selous and aided by Brian Hibbert CBE, a former chairman of Luton-based Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Mr Hibbert was chief executive of Lockheed Martin UK Insys Limited until his retirement in 2006.

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Mr Drury, chairman of Axiom Capital Limited in London and Ford Eagle Group in Hong Kong, is the author of six financial books. In 1998-2006 he built St Helen’s Capital.

He said: “We know that government is committed to encouraging Britain’s SMEs. We believe that our involvement and specific recommendations can help that process and perhaps lead to the creation of an extra 200,000 jobs as SMEs find the financial strength to grow and expand.”

The report says up to £40 billion could be released for Britain’s 4.5 million SMEs if pension fund managers and trustees are prepared to invest five per cent of their assets under management. The report also makes nine other recommendations in a huge review of SME financing. The issue of lack of access to finance has been cited as a major problem by business organisations.

People who invested £135 in British Gas in 1986, with dividends reinvested, would now have an investment valued at around £2,000.

The report recommends using local Chambers of Commerce and accountants to help SMEs identify the most suitable funding schemes.