"I'll be Plymouth Moor View’s most pro-small business MP ever"
When I was the Councillor responsible for Plymouth's economic development strategy, I made a point of ensuring that our city had a major focus on small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) - they really are the force that drives the local economy, creating new local jobs and driving growth. Now I’m running for parliament, I want to be Plymouth Moor View’s most pro-small business MP ever - let me explain why.
Plymouth Moor View is diverse in our business and employment landscape, and it’s really important we have a mix of employers and business types for the future. We have large employers such as Babcock, Wrigley's, Princess Yachts, Fine Tubes and Kawasaki. Some of Plymouth’s largest employers are public sector - Plymouth City Council, Derriford Hospital, the Land Registry, our educational establishments like the Universities of Plymouth, Marjons and Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth City College and all the schools.
Looking to the future, our local economy also needs Plymouth’s SMEs to thrive, and more people choosing to start their businesses here - SMEs are the most dynamic part of what must drive the growth of Plymouth as a regional capital. Growing small businesses will drive so much new job creation - representing 60% of private sector jobs across the UK. Backing the City’s small and growing businesses is a win-win for business and workers alike.
That's why I am so pleased to support the Labour Party manifesto pledges for small and growing businesses.
The Labour Party has policies that ensure businesses get proper support, and we recognise that their success is critical to a successful economy. What we are proposing supports that. We know many Plymouth businesses face funding gaps, so we will set up Regional Investment Banks to offer support for innovation and growth. We will introduce a package of reforms to business rates to support growth. A big concern for small businesses is that they have too much bureaucracy and paperwork, so we will get rid of quarterly reporting for businesses that have a turnover under £85,000, and make sure that anyone who has a government contract always gets paid inside 30 days. Labour will also reinstate a lower rate of corporation tax for small business. This means these companies can concentrate on growing their business and employ more local people on good wages.
Even the Daily Telegraph, no friend of the Labour Party, has reported how the small business community “overwhelmingly reject the Tory manifesto” when it comes to their approach to supporting growing enterprise. The article is damning, saying that “a vanishingly small proportion of companies support the Conservative manifesto."
Brexit has created uncertainty, and I know that secure exit planning for the future is critical for businesses as well as for our families. As your Labour candidate for Plymouth Moor View, I’ll fight for a Brexit strategy that is not hard Brexit but strong Brexit. No deal with the European Union will be deeply damaging for our City’s businesses. But the Tories are happy for that to be the case despite the clear and long-term damage this would do to local economies like Plymouth’s. Plymouth is the nation’s 6th largest exporter and our small businesses need certainty to plan for the future. Similarly, businesses with suppliers outside the UK don’t want to see a Brexit period with a volatile pound and steeply rising costs. Indeed, Mike Cherry, the National Chairman for the Federation of Businesses recently said on Brexit that: “Small businesses across the country are staring into a business support black hole from 2021. This is a particularly pressing issue for the many small firms with growth ambitions and those in less economically developed regions.”
That’s why Labour will put business prosperity first, and safeguard national and international trade. Plymouth needs to be able to export, trade, recruit the right people and do business with confidence in the future, post-Brexit world.
Finally, it’s this last point that is really important - confidence in the future. Plymouth needs a small business culture that looks to the future, and this is about a positive vision for the future of our City alongside a strong Brexit settlement. A growing, vibrant business culture will unleash a new era of prosperity for our City. The City needs developments such as Plymouth Science Park thriving, more of the City’s businesses exporting, better rail links for doing business with the rest of the country, support for growth and innovation, and a business-ready workforce coming out of a properly-funded local education system. All things I’m 110% committed to as you’ll see from my website.
So this is my pledge to Plymouth’s small business community: I will be Plymouth Moor View’s most pro-small business MP ever. I hope I can count on your support on Thursday 8 June.