Thursday 5 December 2019 / 10:30 PM Rebecca Long Bailey

Labour announces ‘one-stop shop’ for small business support as part of new 20-point plan

Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, will set out a plan to establish a new Business Development Agency (BDA) to act as a one stop shop for business support this Friday.

This commitment comes as Labour launches 20 pledges to help small businesses and rejuvenate Britain’s high streets.

Labour will establish a new BDA to act as a one stop shop and champion small businesses across government departments, helping them access business advice, finance and large scale government contracts.

The Federation of Small Businesses has said that “the business support landscape is complex, with a patchwork of public and private sector initiatives at both local and national levels”.

The BDA will address this gap with a network of business advisers operating out of larger Post Bank branches, providing advice and guidance for local businesses on how to access support and finance.

These advisers will efficiently refer SMEs to financing streams provided by the Post Bank ensuring every business has easy access to face-to-face banking in order to better manage their finances and access start-up and business development loans.

As well as face-to-face support, a central, online portal, similar to both the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman and the US’s Small Business Administration will be established. This will ensure that all SMEs across England and Wales can be directed to a single, accessible location as a first port of call for support.

Like the US equivalent, the BDA will also support small businesses to access government contracts so that they can better compete with larger businesses.

Additional pledges in the 20-point plan include:

·  A £250 billion UK National Investment Bank and network of Regional and National Development Banks to give small businesses and the industries of the future the funding they need.

· Stamping out late payments that hit smaller businesses.

· Providing free full fibre broadband to every business premises.

· Giving SMEs access to funding for training raised through the Apprenticeship Levy.

·Scraping quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover of under £85,000.

· Using government procurement to support SMEs and economic growth.

· Fundamentally reforming the outdated business rates system, including switching to annual valuations.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said:

“Small businesses, the lifeblood of our economy and our communities, are being stretched to breaking point by global corporations that evade their taxes and fail to pay their suppliers on time. This inequality scars our country.

“Small businesses are vital to a thriving economy. Labour wants business support and finance to be available for entrepreneurs from the moment the seed of an idea is planted.

“Labour’s Business Development Agency, will create thriving businesses within our communities, bringing life back to local economies. The Agency is part of 20 pledges we are making because Labour is on the side of small business. It’s time for real change.”

Notes to Editors

20-pledges for Small Business: http://www.labour.org.uk/20-pledges-for-business/