Posts Tagged ‘small business’

Practical policy for Labour from the Small Business Forum conference fringe

12/10/2012, 11:19:09 AM

by Philip Ross

The Labour Small Business Forum is a network of Labour members and supporters who work for themselves or in a small business. We recently held a fringe at Labour party conference with a simple goal: to not just to talk round the issues but highlight some practical proposals for the party for small business, proposed by small business.

We had the best SME line up at conference with around 50 people attending. After my introduction in which I stressed the importance of modernising the way we work and supporting emerging firms and freelance working, John Walker the national chairman of the Federation of Small Business picked up on comments about IR35.

This regulation, which means freelancers who work for one client are treated as an employee for tax purposes, despite not having the same rights as an employee, has long been an issue for contractors.

John agreed that it was a complicated and unwieldy tax that has not been resolved and was a bar for going into business. He went on to reiterate the familiar problems that small businesses have with getting hold of finance from the banks. Confidence in financial institutions is a problem and he made reference to the mis-selling of interest rate swaps to many of his members.

As a policy call he suggested that it was hard for small firms to initially grow and take on people and backed an NI holiday for firms that did this, in line with the party’s policy.

He was followed by Dr Jo Twist of the UKIE (the trade association for the UK’s games industry), her points neatly dovetailed with his as she talked about the phenomena of crowd-funding which was a way that investors could lend to companies directly using the internet as a platform and thereby circumnavigating the banks.


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