How so-called government support for small business is often anything but

The nimble nature of a small business is something that many who run one rightly pride themselves on. It is often our tiniest firms that deliver the most innovative ideas to the market place. Ministers Vince Cable and Michael Fallon are right to recognise the contribution they make.

Such companies are often experiments, and many tend not to mature into larger businesses. But that's a feature, not a bug. Markets are the great laboratories for new ideas, where entrepreneurs can pitch their products to potential buyers.

But politicians are sure they have a better idea of what ideas we will want. The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills is insistent on supporting businesses through their Start Up Loans scheme. Bureaucrats in offices get to decide who is financed, and their mechanism for providing funding leaves something to be desired.

Rather than just letting businesspeople get on with the job of providing goods and services, the department has them jump through administrative loopholes. These funds are no friends of genuine entrepreneurs, but act as subsidies for the pet projects of the bored middle classes. The winner isn't the person who has the most appealing idea, but the one who knows best how to file the paperwork.

A far more sensible approach would be to scrap these funds entirely. Starting a business is not without costs, but reducing costs evenly - by cutting business rates, employer NI contributions (the so-called jobs tax) and other rates - could be funded with this cash.

Starting a business shouldn't mean having to appeal to teams of state administrators, but to the best panel of experts we have: customers.