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Labour launches Small Business Taskforce report – ‘An Enterprising Nation’

The Labour Party today has published the final report of the Small Business Taskforce, chaired by businessman Bill Thomas who is based in Derbyshire.

The wide-ranging review is brimming with ideas to inform Labour’s policy review, and has been warmly welcomed by Chesterfield Mp Toby Perkins, who is also Shadow Small Business Minister, the Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband MP and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP.

Click here to read the report.

Economic success is made by the many with Britain’s small businesses vital to the future success of our country. That is why the Labour Party commissioned the independent review into how Britain can support small businesses in the challenges ahead, to remove barriers and help foster innovation. The report contains a number of recommendations which could help put small business at the heart of future growth and the economy we need.

Ed Miliband in a speech this week, which launched the report, said a new system of regional banks to support small business, one of the recommendations of the taskforce, will be introduced under the next Labour government.

These will be part of delivering a British Investment Bank for which they will be regional partners. It is the latest commitment outlined by One Nation Labour to help business, tackle decades-old problems and underpin a strong long term recovery by rebuilding the foundations of Britain’s economy.

A regional bank is one that only lends to businesses within a defined geographic area. They are civic institutions that seek to support growth and innovation in their local areas, understand their customers, and support long term investments in training, research and innovation.

As well as regional banks and many other recommendations to improve access to finance the report also includes proposals for enabling businesses get access to broadband more quickly reflecting the importance of the digital future, helping smaller firms to boost their exports including through new export hubs in overseas cities and an underwriting scheme to protect small business exporters, and encouraging a new common sense approach to regulation to improve the quality of regulations, as well as reducing their quantity.

Bill Thomas, a former Senior Vice President of Hewlett Packard Europe and Chair of the Advisory board at Cranfield School of Management, chaired the taskforce. The report, written by business people for business people, builds on the great spirit of Britain’s 4.8 million businesses.

Toby Perkins MP, Shadow Small Business Minister, said:

“Ninety per cent of people moving from unemployment into private sector employment do so with small businesses. Growth and small business success go hand in hand and we cannot deliver excellent public services without the contribution they make to the economy and the Exchequer.

“The 100 recommendations in the final report cover the full spectrum of small business policy – from access to finance and insolvency to skills and the machinery of government – and they are as radical as they are diverse.  These ideas and many more demonstrate how the next Labour government can be the wind at the backs of British small business and they will form a valuable part of our ongoing policy review.”

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party
, said:

“We are extremely grateful to the enormous commitment and imagination Bill Thomas and his team have shown. This is a terrific report that is fizzing with ideas designed to put small business at the heart of future growth.

“I am determined that One Nation Labour becomes the party of the small business and the entrepreneur as together we create a recovery made by the many and built to last.

“We need a change of culture to celebrate and nurture firms by addressing the short-term culture imposed on British business. We want to make it possible for British business to do more of what it is best at: invent, invest, train and prosper.”

Chuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said:

“We are determined to reach out to businesses of all sizes in all parts of the country with an agenda which sees more people setting up and growing their businesses. Many new jobs will come not from a small number of large businesses, but from a large number of small businesses. As this report says, the spirit of everyday entrepreneurship is not in the hands of a few but in the hearts of the many.

“They are the wealth creators of the future. They will be the engines of Britain’s economic recovery and are forecast to be the source of the major technological breakthroughs and many of the new jobs of the future. We are determined to speak for and deliver policies which work all our small businesses and this is what this reports helps us to do.”

Bill Thomas, chair of the Small Business Taskforce, said:

“Small businesses represent 99% of UK businesses and within their ranks lie the seven per cent of high growth firms that create more than half of our new jobs, so they lie at the very heart of economic growth.

“Our process has involved widespread consultation up and down the country and we have received great support from many organisations and individuals. The Taskforce includes entrepreneurs, academics, private equity and venture capital specialists, local government officials and business people drawn from a broad cross-section of sectors.

“There is no magic bullet for enabling small business and consequently the scope of our investigations is broad. Progress is required on a number of fronts and this is reflected in the wide range of recommendations made. In each case, we have sought to identify the problems constraining small business and the potential solutions.”

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. I was elected on May 6th 2010.

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