Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Labour is Listening - Supporting SMEs

The Labour Party has a great new tool to connect with voters called 'Labour is Listening'. You can submit comments or policy suggestions on topical issues. This is what I sent today on how the Labour Party can support SMEs in new ways:

Most policy ideas for SMEs concern taxation and/or regulations. Tax breaks and incentives alongside more effective - and necessary - red tape are important.

But one further suggestion is to promote a more co-operative model. Small businesses are separate companies, but they can have shared interests. My father ran a bicycle shop out of a single shop. He was able to compete better with larger businesses and national chains by making a partnership with other independent bicycle owners in the wider area. They could pool resources and help each other with stock in a mutually beneficial way. Everyone kept their independence while preserving their freedom.

Some type of SME partnership for small businesses could help build in greater resilience to the benefit of these businesses, the local economies they serve and their customers. This could be managed through traditional means like tax incentives, but another way is engaging creatively with local chambers of commerce and trade organisations - as well as the unions. We're all in it together when it comes to a strong local economy.

Thom Brooks
Professor of Law and Government, Durham University

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