MP visits butcher as Primary Authority deal extends to SMEs

A government minister visited an independent butcher yesterday in recognition of the extension of the Primary Authority Agreement (PAA).

The Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise Matthew Hancock made a trip to Coventry-based butcher John Taylor, of Taylor’s Butchers, to mark the fact that the PAA has been extended to smaller businesses, in which the butcher’s shop is an early participant.

In 2009 the PAA was launched so that large-scale businesses, operating from various premises across the country, could take advantage of a statutory partnership with one local authority, allowing the whole business to operate by one set of rules.

Tens of thousands of small businesses were allowed to take advantage of the agreement from 1 October this year, when the law was changed.

“It is the first occasion that a minister from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has had the opportunity to make a visit to a business premises to specifically welcome the arrival of the extension of the Primary Authority scheme to smaller businesses via partnerships co-ordinated by their trade association,” said National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) chief executive Roger Kelsey.

Kelsey joined John and Hancock at the shop on 14 November, as did John’s son Stuart and the principal environmental health officer and commercial team manager for Horsham District Council Paul Hobbs.

Meanwhile, John said: “Extending Primary Authority recognises the contribution that small businesses make towards the continuing economic recovery, as well as the plight of cash-strapped and resource challenged councils. It is efficient and saves time for both the regulator and the regulated.”

Kelsey added that, for NFMFT members, the PAA would provide the opportunity to develop a good working relationship with a local authority, so it fully understands the sector and its challenges “and knows what is practical when giving guidance”.