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Wokingham Lib Dems call for more support for small businesses

December 8, 2015 9:00 AM
Clive JonesFining big suppliers who fail to pay up on time and improving broadband access are at the heart of a plan to help small businesses in Wokingham.
Wokingham Liberal Democrats have used Small Business Saturday (December 5) to set out a five point plan.
They said more needs to be done to support the 5560 small and micro business owners in Wokingham, including ensuring they have access to a well-educated, highly-skilled workforce, and access to finance to help them grow.
The plan aims to support those 'small for good' businesses that are the backbone of local communities, as well as the 'small for now' businesses, with big ambitions to grow rapidly.
The five point plan includes:
1. Give the new Small Business Commissioner real teeth to tackle late payments by big businesses, including fining big suppliers who regularly fail to pay on time.
2. Boost access to finance by requiring diversity within the financial sector, including encouraging new online lenders and supporting a regional banking network.
3. Ensuring businesses get the skills they need, by investing rather than cutting Further Education, supporting apprenticeships and creating new training programmes.
4. Ensure businesses have access to high quality broadband by investing now in a real high speed universal services to every part of the country.
5. Support small businesses with big ambitions to scale up, by encouraging a new generation of venture capitalists to invest in good ideas and promote business growth through equity financing rather than debt.
Keith Malvern, local campaigner said:
"Small and micro businesses make up 5560 of small businesses in Wokingham. They are the backbone of our community to employ thousands of people and helping our local economy to grow.
"Small Business Saturday is a chance to say 'thank you' for all the work small businesses owners do for our area, but the fact is that we need to do more to support them in return.
"All too often small businesses owners end up paying themselves below the minimum wage in order to keep staff on. They work incredibly hard and sacrifice an awful lot, the least the Government can do is help them to succeed".
Clive Jones, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesman for Wokingham said:
"The Liberal Democrats five point plan for small businesses is about ensuring we support small business both now and in the future. It is vital for Wokingham and the whole of the UK economy.
"We need measures to make local business rates more flexible to help encourage micro businesses to start up and help them to survive in difficult times.
"We want the Conservative government to act to help small businesses in the way the Lib Dems have laid out. Unfortunately their decision to scrap the review of business rates started by Danny Alexander when the Lib Dems were in government suggests the Conservatives aren't really interested in the small businesses that make up the backbone of our economy.
"I have spent the last 30 years managing small to medium size companies specialising in the manufacturing of toys. Late payment can be a problem. Several high profile fines from a new Small Business Commissioner would quickly address the problem"
Notes:
A micro business is one that employs 1-9 people. The Wokingham Parliamentary constituency has 4945 of these.
A small business is one that employs 10-49 people. The Wokingham Parliamentary constituency has 615 of these.
As well as managing several businesses Clive Jones is a Director of and a former Chair and President of the British Toy & Hobby Association. The trade body which represents 150 UK Toy manufacturers and distributors.
Source of figures: NOMIS, 2015 figures.