I’m really proud of the two Rosa’s restaurants that Saiphin and I have set up. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been a fun ride. I have loved doing it with one exception – dealing with local councils.
After 16 years living in Asia it was really interesting to come back to my old home in the UK and find out how London has changed. I’m glad to say most things seemed to have changed for the better. The food scene here is so much more interesting than it was when I left. The city is also safer and probably cleaner too.
One thing that I’ve been really disappointed with however, and where things seem to have got worse, are the rules the government places on businesses. Lots and lots of them in fact.
The ridiculous shackles being placed on us at both restaurants by the local council are nothing short of disgraceful.
Here’s the most recent example. Earlier today I was opening up our post and I was presented with a court summons from Westminster Council for a rates bill that wasn’t due for another two weeks. When I called them to find out why I was told, by someone who clearly couldn’t care less, it was because we’ve been late in the past and this changed our status on their computer systems. When I asked how late I was last month I was told the our payment arrived on 2nd February. A whole one day late – gosh – the computer says, “no” – please just lock me up and throw away the key!
I know I probably shouldn’t talk about this stuff on our blog but then again why not? If something gets up your nose what’s the point in muttering about it to yourself on the sofa? If more entrepreneurs spoke up about this type of thing maybe, just maybe, local councils might start to help rather than hinder those who set up businesses, breathe life in to local communities and create jobs?
Surely Westminster Council’s role is to support small businesses not bully them? If you’re going to pick on business pick on supermarkets.
If anyone from the non-domestic rates department at Westminster Council is reading this, here’s a request: instead of sending summons to people who work hard in order to pay your inflated bills perhaps a phone call or sending a non-threatening letter first might be a better way to communicate?
Anyway, rant over. Thanks for listening.
Promise to talk about food next time!