Labour today has launched its business manifesto, laying out the plans we have to make sure that our economy works for the many, across the regions, not just the few at the top concentrated in one part of our nation.
Britain is currently emerging from the slowest economic recovery in over 100 years, but as the economy recovers working people across the North East are no longer confident that if they work hard, they will be rewarded. Real wages in the North East have fallen an average of £1,160 a year since 2010.
Labour’s Better Plan for Business is based on a simple idea: that Britain and British business succeed when working people succeed. It is a plan for a more productive, more sustainable economy that builds on the talents of all working people, supported by a government that balances the books, invests in infrastructure, improves skills and opens up more competitive markets.
It includes measures to:
- Build a strong economic foundation by balancing the books and cutting the deficit every year, with a surplus on the current budget and national debt falling as soon as possible in the next Parliament.
- Support access to international markets by returning Britain to a leadership role in a reformed European Union.
- Tackle rising business costs, by maintaining the most competitive Corporation Tax rate in the G7 and cutting and then freezing business rates for more than 1.5 million small business properties.
- Set up an independent National Infrastructure Commission to plan for Britain’s long term infrastructure needs, including a world-class transport system and investment in low carbon technology and jobs.
- Reform the banking system so that businesses can get the finance they need to invest and grow; and
- Tackle skills shortages by ensuring all young people study English and Maths to 18 and introducing a gold standard vocational route, including a plan to create thousands of new apprenticeships.
The North East is home to around 150,000 small businesses which contribute £25billion to the economy every year. Labour’s plan, commits to lowering taxes for small businesses, recognising that cash flow can be a much bigger issue for them than for larger firms. Business rates would be cut and then frozen on 71,000 small business properties in the North East. A British Investment Bank would ensure that small and medium sized businesses in the North can get the investment they need to grow.
Exporters across the North East have been at the forefront of the drive towards economic recovery, with exports rising faster from the region than from any other part of the UK. Labour would ensure that exporters have the certainty to invest by staying in a reformed EU and supporting long term infrastructure development that would support business of all shapes and sizes.
Iain Wright is Labour’s Shadow Business Minister and Labour candidate for Hartlepool