The UK is once again gearing up for a General Election campaign, with our television screens, radios and our digital space being used as a gateway for political parties to broadcast their new policies.
This time around, SMEs are at the top of the agenda, with the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls today vowing to reverse the corporation tax in order to pay for a reduction in rates for small businesses.
So, can Labour go further to help SMEs – and how do they compare to the other parties’ plans?
In Labour’s manifesto, Ed Balls says that unleashing ‘‘the potential of smaller businesses to grow, create more good jobs and raise living standards is a vital part of Labour’s better plan.’’
Announcing his business manifesto yesterday, Ed Miliband revealed plans to freeze business rates for more than 1.5 million small business properties.
Labour has also promised to Increase competition in the banking sector by looking to create two new challenger banks and a market share test to ensure the market stays competitive.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives are also pushing for a stronger SME sector.
George Osborne recently pledged to make major reforms to help small businesses, including a review of business rates.
Speaking at an event held by The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Osborne stated that he was ‘‘deadly serious about a review of business rates’’ and will ‘‘make a major change to business rates and have it in place by 2017.”
Also at the FSB conference, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg proposed new logistical benefits that will assist SMEs.
‘‘We’re also freezing fuel duty for another year, saving you around £10 every time you fill up your car,” he said.
“To help those SMEs struggling to get business finance, we’ve created the British Business Bank – helping thousands of companies secure over £3 billion of finance.’’