Skip To The Main Content

Opinion: Jeremy Corbyn on the common ground between SMEs and the labour movement


Small business owners have a number of shared interests with the labour movement, from fair taxation and tackling late payment to increasing productivity, writes Jeremy Corbyn Leader of the Labour Party.

Britain’s 5.7 million small businesses are crucial to the life of our country and the future of our economy. They provide 60 per cent of private sector employment and will be at the heart of the next Labour Government’s plans to rebuild and upgrade our economy. 

Millions of jobs and the future of our country depend on small business owners and entrepreneurs turning their dreams into successes.

What motivates someone to start their own business, to serve their community and meet people’s needs, while creating an income for themselves and jobs for others, is far closer to the principles of the labour and co-operative movement than our political opponents would like to admit.

Throughout society, power is very far from evenly distributed, and that goes for businesses too. We pledge that, under Labour, those with the broadest shoulders will bear the greatest burden. We will increase corporation tax for larger companies while bringing back the small profits rate for small businesses and scrapping quarterly reporting for the smallest firms. 

The Conservatives don’t really understand small businesses because they don’t understand what motivates most people. The vast majority of people are not motivated by selfishness or greed. They want to do the best they can for themselves and their families, but they also recognise that is only possible as part of a cohesive society with a strong economy.

The Tories have spent years claiming to be the party of business, while choking off investment and turning a blind eye to practices that give business a bad name.
There's the burden of late payments, an injustice that FSB has raised time and again, and one Labour is committed to tackling. It is a national scandal that big companies withhold more than £26 billion a year from smaller suppliers. Or take the shambles of Universal Credit and its impact on self-employed people.

Theresa May’s Government is not paying serious attention to any of these issues. Her cabinet and her party are riven by disagreements over Brexit, which means the voices of businesspeople like you are going unheard.

As well as immediately guaranteeing the rights of the 3.2 million EU citizens living and working in this country, Labour would prioritise jobs and our economy, and negotiate a stable transition to our exit from the EU.

The Government’s chaotic approach risks seriously damaging our chances of getting the right deal for Britain. 

And their economic track record offers little comfort. The Tories have spent seven years giving tax breaks to the largest companies, while claiming there’s not enough money around to properly invest in public services, infrastructure or people’s skills. 

We have pledged to set up a National Investment Bank, supported by a network of regional development banks, to improve the funding gap and drive growth in our economy. 

Small businesses won’t survive on empty promises from the Government. You need support, stability and sustainable growth. And that is what a Labour Government offers as we build an economy that works for the many, not the few.