With Jeremy Corbyn now leading Labour, we look at his proposed small business policies.
Recently Jeremy Corbyn claimed Labour’s vacant leadership, causing a political earthquake that still reverberates. Once an obscure backbencher, he’s now set to shape party policy – so what is the bearded socialist’s backstory? And what does he have in plan for Britain’s small businesses?
The Corbyn backstory
Born in May 1949 to an engineer and maths teacher, Corbyn grew up in the market town of Chippenham in Wiltshire. His parents had met as peace campaigners during the Spanish Civil War, and it’s fair to say his upbringing was pretty political – the Corbyn dinner table hosting fierce debates.
He left school with little in the way of decent grades so he sought opportunities outside of education, opting to join the Voluntary Service Overseas in Jamaica. He worked with them for two years before returning to the UK, where he then joined the trade union movement and cut his political teeth.
From there he won a place in north London’s Haringey Council in 1974, which gave him the platform to run for Islington North MP in 1983. He was elected and he’s successfully held the seat for the past 32 years, the Labour party’s recent General Election woes convincing him to make a leadership bid. The rest they say is history… so how has his past shaped his small business policy?
A ‘Better Business’ agenda
“I will stand up for small businesses, independent entrepreneurs, and the growing number of enterprises that want to cooperate and innovate for the public good” claimed Corbyn during his leadership campaign, a ‘Better Business’ plan part of his pledge to the Labour electorate.
He wants to redress the balance between “corporate tax avoiders and private monopolies” who force “small businesses and their workers to wait behind them in the queue” - so what exactly does he plan to do?
A revising of business rates
Corbyn’s promised a small business rate freeze - just like Ed Miliband before him - and it’s a policy that ought to be popular amongst many business owners.
A cornerstone of Corbyn’s political philosophy is greater government control over property; sky-high rents in his sights should he become prime minister. Rent controls would stop local shops being priced out, he believes, with high streets healthier as a result.
Significant skills investment
According to the CBI the UK has “a skills emergency now, threatening to starve economic growth” so Corbyn’s pledged to increase investment by reversing Conservative cuts to the skills budget – but how does he plan to pay for it?
A Corporation Tax increase
In his eyes a moderate 2% increase in Corporation Tax would shoulder this skills investment, whilst also funding the business rates freeze. Essentially Robin Hood economics, these could prove popular policies, however, with numerous freelancers running limited companies there’s the danger they could be left poorer – conglomerates not only the ones paying Corporation Tax.
The building of a National Investment Bank
Where commercial banks have failed small businesses, Corbyn wants to offer a solution. His plan is to set up a ‘National Investment Bank’ to help get finance to businesses in key sectors – although how this quite differs to the current British Business Bank remains to be seen.
Help for HMRC
As we’ve seen on this blog before, HMRC aren’t in the in the fittest state, so Corbyn’s promising to support the taxman with ‘extra resources’. He believes that greater backing could help them clamp down on corporate tax avoidance, whilst also levelling the playing field between small and big business.
As things stand these are the biggest small business policies Cobyn’s put forward, however his Corbyn For Business election page offers some extra ideas. With his cabinet now in place expect to see some more added in the coming months…
Do Jeremy Corbyn’s business policies appeal to you? Give us your opinion in the comments below.