New year is the time when we reflect on the year gone by and look forward to the year ahead. For small businesses, it is no different.
2013 was the year when small business really started motoring again, after Labour’s Great Recession. But there is more to do. Because although our recovery is real, it is still fragile. As a Government we have to go on making life easier for small business.
Conservatives value small business because of the ethos they embody of hard work and reward for effort. They matter because of the jobs and prosperity they create, and the opportunity they create for people to rise and achieve their dreams. Small businesses allow people to get on in life and have a better, more secure future. And of course they are crucial to our country’s future too.
So here are my top 10 changes we’ve actually delivered in 2013, often against opposition, to support small business. And there’s more to come:
1. Corporation tax cut to 23 per cent.
2. The 10,000th start up loan was made in 2013 and the age limit removed. £162 million was originally committed to the scheme and a further £160 million has been committed.
3. Fees for Employment Tribunals were introduced as of July 2013.
4. We have tackled compensation culture by reforming Health and Safety Regulation – now so long as an employer has taken ‘reasonable steps’ to protect their employees, they are protected by the law.
5. Small Business Rate Relief was extended to April 2014.
6. The Red Tape Challenge reforms saving business £212 million a year as of April 2013. The net burden of regulation of business has fallen by £931 million a year during this Parliament.
7. The British Business Bank began to deploy its £1 billion of new capital in 2013.
8. The Annual Investment Allowance was increased from £25,000 to £250,000 on 1st Jan 2013 for 2 years.
9. Over 4,000 high growth SMEs signed up to the ‘Growth Accelerator’ scheme as of March 2013.
10. Capital Gains: To encourage investors to take up SEIS the capital gains tax holiday was extended through 2013/14 and 2014/15.
Looking ahead, there is a lot more to do. Cutting £2000 off National Insurance to reduce the cost of employment from April 2014, helping small businesses with the cost of rates, cutting corporation taxes even further, and continuing our freeze in fuel duty so people have more money in their pocket, helping them to be more financially secure.
Above all, we have to make it easier for hardworking people to start a business. Already since 2010, we have 400,000 more businesses. That means more people having a go, creating jobs, and taking responsibility for themselves. My message for 2014 is this: if you dream of starting your own business, the Conservatives are on your side.
Matthew Hancock is the Skills Minister.Tags: Small businesses, UK politics