Enterprising entrants

This time last week Norman Hacker was basking in the glory of Northamptonshire County Council being named the most enterprising place in Britain.

All that work (and money) spent helping to keep the British Grand Prix at Silverstone together with that Brussels office which the authority helps fund for the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership were rightly lauded by business minister Michael Fallon.

Now while we wouldn’t like to take the gloss of this accolade, it’s worth asking who took part in the contest. So we did, via a Freedom of Information request to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. And they were back, quick as a flash, with the results. Twelve organisations entered including Liverpool Vision, Buckinghamshire Business First and a clutch of councils including Oxfordshire, Barking and Dagenham, Birmingham and The Wirral. A trip to Cyprus now beckons as the county council represents the UK in a kind of Eurovision event to find out Europe’s most enterprising country and we’ll be keeping a keen eye on who might be flying out for that one in mid-November. Much less fanfare was made of the fact that County Hall also picked up the Encouraging Export award as well. The competition in this instance was a little less fierce with just one other entrant, the Aberdeen and Grampian Chambers of Commerce vying for honours. We shouldn’t de-cry any of this trophy hunting. The borough council, for example, celebrated winning the best city title in East Midlands in Bloom a couple of weeks back (when there were actually no other entrants). It’s great stuff for the county, obviously, but it does beg the question as to whether the UK isn’t that enterprising at the moment or the hard-pushed ordinary people running councils – the sort Andrew Mitchell might call plebs – haven’t the time to fill in the entry forms.

LAST week’s low key EU/UK Relationship (Reform) debate chaired by Brussels-phobe Philip Hollobone was a reunion of Northants Eurosceptics. Binners, Sven Bone and Andrea Leadsom all chipping in their two euro-worth. No Mikey though.