Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, particularly on Teesside. Supporting them is a key part of Labour's plan for prosperity. We will put small businesses first in line for tax cuts and ensure smaller firms have the support they need to invest, innovate and raise their productivity.
Britain will never succeed if it tries to compete with a low wage, low skill business model – a race to the bottom in which ordinary, working people are always the losers. This approach will not secure more and better paid jobs for the longer-term. Nor will it lead to the more resilient and competitive economy that Britain needs following the financial crisis.
Like families, businesses are being hit by the cost of living crisis too. Many small and medium sized firms are struggling with rising costs and a lack of finance from the banks – a problem that must be solved in order to get our economy growing in a more balanced way. Business rates have risen by around £1500 under this government and are an ever bigger part of companies’ overall tax burden.
The Tories have failed because they believed that rising living standards would come from cutting taxes for a narrow group of firms and individuals with wealth trickling down to everyone else. Our approach will instead back working people and the companies where the great majority of British people work.
Supporting our small businesses by unleashing their full potential to create more good jobs and so raising living standards is central to Labour’s plan for prosperity.
Instead of another corporation tax cut for large companies which helps fewer than one in ten firms, we will cut and then freeze business rates for small firms instead. Under Labour’s plan the tax burden on small businesses in Stockton will be lower than under the Tories.
We will also tackle late payments, reduce unnecessary regulation and boost lending to SMEs who want to grow with a proper British Investment Bank.
As a small business owner and having spent a lot of time talking to others as a member of Tees Valley Business Club and Stockton Business Women’s Network, Louise understands the challenges SMEs face, particularly with accessing finance and recruiting people with the right skills.
The fab business women at Scoot in Stockton who met Ed Miliband during his visit to speak to businesses about Labour's plan to tackle energy bills.
After her selection as Labour’s candidate, one of Louise’s first engagements was chairing an event with Labour’s Shadow Small Business Minister, Toby Perkins MP. Hosted by award-winning global business Nifco UK based in Eaglescliffe, the event was an opportunity for local businesses, representatives from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) along with leaders from Riverside College and the University of Teesside to discuss their experiences and ambitions.
She has also met with the North East Chambers of Commerce to discuss some of the key issues facing business in the region, particularly on Teesside, and was glad to input her own experience.
As an active supporter of Small Business Saturday, Louise has taken the time to meet businesses in Thornaby in 2013 and Ingleby Barwick in 2014.
Louise on Small Business Saturday 2013, speaking with Nirpal Singh about business in his 3 shops.
Working with our small businesses and really delivering for them is vital to grow the regional economy and create the jobs we need on Teesside. As an MP Louise will continue to champion our SMEs, working with organisations like Tees Valley Unlimited who are already doing marvellous work bringing investment to our area.
Labour’s plan to back Britain’s small businesses will:
- Put small businesses first in line for tax cuts.
We will cut and then freeze businesses rates for 1.5 million small business properties with a rateable value of less than £50,000. Labour’s plan means the tax burden on small businesses will be lower than under the Tories. We will look to go even further as we prioritise small businesses for future tax cuts.
- Tackle late payment.
We will tackle late payment with a new requirement on larger businesses to set out the extent of late payment they have been responsible for, and the action they have taken to compensate suppliers. We will also give business organisations like the Federation of Small Businesses the right to take cases on behalf of their members.
- Ensure Britain has the most competitive rate of corporation tax in the G7 and continue supporting the Employment Allowance.
Labour called for action on National Insurance Contributions in 2011 and the Government finally acted in 2014. Their mechanism, the Employment Allowance, is now bedded in so we will keep it and build on it.
- Establish a proper British Investment Bank to boost lending for small businesses to grow and create jobs.
All funds raised from the planned increase in the licence fees for the mobile phone spectrum - estimated to be up to £1 billion in the next Parliament, subject to Ofcom consultation – will be allocated to Labour’s British Investment Bank.
- Increase competition in the banking sector so that small firms get a better deal, following the Competition and Markets Authority inquiry.
We want to see at least two new challenger banks and a market share test to ensure the market stays competitive for the long term.
- Reduce unnecessary regulation by asking our new Small Business Administration – which the FSB has called for – to co-ordinate work across government to benefit smaller businesses and cut unnecessary regulation.
Labour’s SBA will be given a remit to ensure regulations or requirements on small business are proportionate, appropriate, avoid any unnecessary burdens or compliance costs and are designed from the perspective of the smaller firm.
- Deliver a long term roadmap for capital allowances and incentives for research and innovation like the R&D tax credit, not just for the headline rate of corporation tax.
- Improve support for entrepreneurs and SMEs who want to grow rapidly.
Leading British entrepreneur Simon Franks, who co-founded Love Film, is conducting a review for Labour on how we can best support early stage and high growth businesses which we will publish in the coming months.