Today, the Labour Party launched its plan for small businesses. Entitled ‘The beating heart of our economy’, it sets an ambition to hardwire the voice of small businesses into Labour’s decision-making.
It sets out a nine-point plan:
- Legislate to tackle late payments: Unlocking £20 billion in unpaid invoices
- Scrap business rates: And replace it with a system that is fairer for bricks and mortar businesses
- Revitalise our high streets: Tackling anti-social behaviour and powers to take over empty shops
- Boosting small business exports: Removing the barriers to export with clear information and support
- A new direction for skills: With Technical Excellence Colleges connected to local economic needs
- Get Britain building again: By speeding up the planning system and unblocking the grid
- Make Britain a clean energy super power: For cheaper bills and greater energy security
- The best place to start up and scale up: With better access to finance and more spinouts from universities
- A fair chance at public contracts: With guaranteed shortlisting for smaller firms
The plan was launched by Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary. He said:
“Small business is the beating heart of our economy. Breathing life into our high streets and delivering services that make our lives easier.
“When I speak to our talented founders and business owners many tell me they feel overlooked by the Government and, after 13 years of economic failure, it is getting harder and harder to run a successful business.
“Britain is brimming with driven entrepreneurs and Labour will work hand in hand with them to ensure the next Labour government is offering the firm foundations they need to prosper and grow. Labour is proud to back our small businesses and this plan is a serious blueprint to create the long-term environment businesses across the country are crying out for.”
The plan notes that the majority of UK businesses are SMEs, which collectively boost our economy by £2.4 trillion. It states that the value of small business ‘isn’t just about the jobs they create or the economic growth they generate’ but it is the ‘much needed richness’ SMEs bring to the economy.
Councillor Minesh Parekh, Sheffield Labour’s lead for Economic Development, said:
“Small and independent businesses have been let down by this Government. Rising energy costs, sky-high interest rates; it is clear that this Government is neglecting small businesses.
“I’m really pleased to see this plan: replacing business rates with a fairer system, tackling late payments, and decarbonising our energy system will help grow our SMEs for the long-term and help them become climate leaders in their own right.”
Earlier this year, Sheffield Council voted in favour of a Labour motion to support Sheffield’s SMEs to address their climate impacts. Recognising that 76% of SMEs do not have comprehensive decarbonisation strategies, the motion called for the council to do more for SMEs, including letting them access cheaper, greener energy through the district heating network.