How Labour can support small businesses – the lifeblood of our economy – from opposition

27th November, 2012 2:28 pm

Although Labour are out of office nationally, there is still much we can do to support the small businesses who are the lifeblood of our economy.

Across the country Labour Councils and Councillors are often the first point of access for small businesses seeking support.  There are nearly 650,000 businesses active in areas covered by Labour authorities and this figure is set to grow as we seek to win control of more councils.

In his first conference speech as leader, Ed Miliband expressed his determination to make Labour the party of small business, and I have seen firsthand the brilliant work done by the Small Business Taskforce he set up.  It’s looking closely at every aspect of small business policy and will be making its recommendations to the Party in the new year.

Labour wants to see more people setting up and working in business.  We recognise that small businesses are the engines of social mobility, and also the challengers to the status quo by creating new products and services.  In this way they share our values, and our Councils across the country are playing a huge role in demonstrating how the next One Nation Labour government will champion and support small businesses and encourage growth in every area.

This is why we have launched the Labour Councillors Business Network (LCBN).

At a time when central government is making unprecedented cuts to local government it has never been more important for our Councils to work together to support their local businesses and economies.

The network will allow Labour Councillors to share ideas, resources, best practice and develop new thinking.  It will also help Labour Groups seeking to win office to develop a strong offer with sound business policies and ways to secure jobs.

Our launch meeting was held at Camden Town Hall last Thursday and was attended by nearly fifty Labour Councillors from every region of England.  Chuka Umunna the Shadow Business Secretary, Hilary Benn the Shadow Communities Secretary and David Offenbach the Chair of the Labour Finance and Industry Group also participate in discussions.  We hope this will be the first of many meetings as we take the network all around the country.

However, the thing that stood out most to me, was the great work that Labour Councils are doing.

Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council (who were recently praised for having the best high streets in London), Mehboob Khan, Leader of Kirklees Council (who have the highest rate of private sector job creation in West Yorkshire) and Jacqui Williams, an Executive Member on Wakefield Council (who have been named the best small city in which to do business) all gave presentations on their innovative small business policies and led group discussions on these ideas.

All the Councillors spoke about the importance of supporting start ups, attracting businesses to their areas and using all of the tools a local authority had to support, engage and work closely with businesses.

It was inspirational to hear how passionate Labour Councillors from right around the country are about supporting their local businesses.  I’m sure the LCBN will be able to build on this passion and become a great success.

Toby Perkins MP is Shadow Minister for Small Businesses 

  • Dave Postles

    Provide courses in OpenSource IT available to them.


  • Comment Unions Why we joined the tens of thousands marching in Manchester

    Why we joined the tens of thousands marching in Manchester

    By Cllr Jim McMahon and Cllr Kieran Quinn If you believe the hype, Greater Manchester’s aspiration and politics is all about the “Northern Powerhouse”. As Leaders of two Greater Manchester Councils playing important roles on the GM Combined Authority, we should be at the front and centre of this Tory ideal, keenly setting out our stall to display the “Powerhouse” at conference season. So when the Tory Party Conference descended on Manchester this week you be forgiven for thinking we’d […]

    Read more →
  • News Weekly Survey: Tuition fees, London and Scotland

    Weekly Survey: Tuition fees, London and Scotland

    During the leadership election, Jeremy Corbyn declared that he would want to abolish tuition fees if he becomes Prime Minister. The policy will have to go through Labour’s policy review channels, and his campaign team calculates that it would cost around £10 billion. Do you think that Labour should commit to spending that on scrapping university fees? Zac Goldsmith has now been selected by the Tories to take on Labour’s Sadiq Khan in next year’s Mayor of London contest. What […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Reaching out to micro businesses and self-employed, the Labour Party way

    Reaching out to micro businesses and self-employed, the Labour Party way

    At the moment, it seems one of the big questions is – how Labour are you really? As we couldn’t have experienced more viscerally than since 7 May, the party that we love covers a huge spectrum of people from all walks of live, with their different experiences, perspectives and approaches. And it’s growing by the day. In an age of such frustration at politics, Jeremy Corbyn can take great heart from and credit for that. I would argue that […]

    Read more →
  • News George Osborne “doesn’t live in the real world”

    George Osborne “doesn’t live in the real world”

    George Osborne’s failure to mention the Redcar steel plant, where 1,700 workers are losing their jobs, shows that he “doesn’t live in the real world”, according to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Osborne made a half hour speech at the Conservative conference in Manchester earlier today, with McDonnell slamming the Chancellor’s omission of the job losses from his address. McDonnell is today visiting Redcar with Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle to speak to steelworkers losing their livelihoods. “They want substantive answers […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured So long, Denis

    So long, Denis

    I was once writing a column about leadership and those moments when you really have to be tough and probably end up upsetting people. In my head was a phrase I was sure I had heard Denis Healey use on one occasion – that while “sometimes you may have to be a bastard you must never be a shit”. But as this column was for the FT, there was no way I was going to be allowed just to claim […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends