Thursday, 24 October 2013

Ed Miliband speech to an FSB event

It is great to be here with you today as part of our dialogue with small business with Toby Perkins, our shadow minister for small business.

I want to thank the FSB for putting together this event.
And for all the incredible work you do for British business all the year round.
I also want to thank all the business people here today for giving up your valuable time to be here with us to discuss the future of small businesses in Britain.
Let me say something about my party:
It hasn’t traditionally been so, but I am deeply committed to us being a party that stands up for small businesses in this country.
You create huge amounts of wealth, and you will create the majority of the new jobs in the future.
The future of the British economy depends on small business.
You invent the products that we sell at home and across the world.
You provide the jobs that our country so desperately needs.
You nurture the skills of our young people.
And you create the wealth without which our country cannot thrive in the years ahead.
When you succeed, Britain succeeds.
But so many small businesses are facing the same cost of living crisis that affects families in our economy.
We are determined to do something about it.
Let me suggest some ways we can make a difference.
First, taking action on business rates.
I know that for so many small businesses, business rates are a cost that just seem to grow and grow, and are now often greater than your rent.
We are determined to do something about this ever escalating bill.
This Government plans to cut taxes further for large firms in 2015.
In tough times, we would use those precious resources instead to cut business rates after the next election and freeze them in 2016.
Our tax cut and freeze will mean an average saving of nearly £450 for 1.5 million business properties– shops, workshops, start-up businesses.
Second, we are determined to get a grip on the energy costs that are such a problem for so many small businesses.
Annual energy bills for small businesses have gone up by an average of £10,000 since 2010.
We would freeze prices until 2017 if we win the election.
And reform a broken energy market.
With proper competition and a new, effective regulator after that.
To keep prices as low as possible for the years ahead.
There is no solution to the cost of living crisis which tiptoes around taking on the energy companies and reforming a broken market.
You have seen the debate that this proposal has started.
Yesterday in weakness and panic, the government made up a new policy on energy.
Today, Nick Clegg has revealed their true intentions.
To shift the burden from ordinary bill payers, like you, to ordinary taxpayers, like you. Governments have always looked at this balance but this Government wants you to pick up the tab for its failure to stand up to the energy companies.
That won’t offer the real help that business and families need.
They propose a panicked wheeze paid for by taxpayers.
We offer a real freeze paid for by the big energy companies.
Third, we want to get you the finance you need to survive, grow and prosper.
It is why we will establish a network of new regional banks: banks that can lend in your region and in your region alone.
So that they have a legal duty to support the small and medium-sized businesses in their own part of the country.
That means that under Labour we will have banks that work for you, rather than you working for the banks.
These are just three changes that will make a real difference.
We will cut business rates, freeze energy bills and sort out our banking system.
And that is just a start.
I want a dialogue about what more needs to be done.
Let me end where I began: with Labour, and why we can stand up for you.
Because of our belief in enterprise.
But also because it is time to deploy one of our great traditions in the service of small business, standing up for those who need someone on their side.
Helping you, to help our country.
We want to develop a comprehensive offer coming from One Nation Labour for small businesses.
My ambition, our ambition, is to make our party, the Labour Party, the champion of small business at the next election.

Labour Party

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