Tag Archives: business

Four ways Lib Dem MPs stood up for those with no income

MPs’ inboxes at the moment are flooded with the millions of people who are getting no support at all during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Imagine what that must feel like?

It’s people like self-employed hairdressers, physiotherapists, cleaners, decorators, people who own self-catering holiday homes who have been left with nothing.

Often their income from self employment was not that high anyway so they don’t have any sort of cushion.

After almost 4 months of this, many are at breaking point.

Liberal Democrat MPs have consistently called for more help for people who have been affected like this.

Here are four things that they have done this week:

Christine Jardine pressed the Prime Minister to introduce a Universal Basic Income

There are 3 million people in this country who get no support at the moment because they are self-employed or on contract. Our black, Asian and ethnic minority communities have an unemployment rate that is twice the national average and women are disproportionately affected by covid-19. The Prime Minister said a few minutes ago that he stands ready to help. Will he look at a universal basic income so that these people can get the help that they need now?

Typically the PM brushed off her suggestion, showing how little he cares or understands bout the predicament faced by too many.

Ed Davey called on the Government to scrap changes which would disadvantage contractors as reported by City AM:

Self-employed people face an unprecedented threat to their livelihoods due to the pandemic,” he said.

“The Conservative government’s insistence on their IR35 policy risks making the plight of many self-employed people even worse.

“Delaying the change to next April will do next to nothing to reduce the impact of Covid-19 which will be felt for months – if not years – to come. This is not the time to add to the burden of the self-employed.

And Jamie Stone is starting a new All Party Parliamentary Group which meets this coming Tuesday and aims to advocate for those who have been excluded:

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Lib Dems bid to pave the way for safe street cafe culture in Scotland

Scottish Liberal Democrats have proposed an amendment to the latest coronavirus emergency legislation to help pave the way for more cafes, restaurants and bars to use closed roads to enable social distancing between customers, once they are permitted to re-open. Alex Cole-Hamilton will lead on this when the vote takes place on Tuesday.

The amendment confirms that it shall not be an offence to place tables and chairs in the road outside a premises, provided it is done with the local authority’s consent and doesn’t cause an obstruction to disabled people.

Scottish Liberal Democrats will also ask the Scottish Government to publish advice to alert businesses to these possibilities and help local authorities prepare their own plans for the reopening of these businesses when the time comes.
This comes as Lithuanian capital Vilnius is to be turned into an ‘open-air cafe’, with businesses allowed to use nearby plazas, squares and streets free of charge.

Australia this week allowed restaurants and cafes to open but have initially limited the number of people dining inside to 10, causing some to reportedly say it isn’t worth their while to re-open at this stage.

Alex said:

Once it is safe and they are permitted to reopen, it seems inevitable that cafes, restaurants and bars will need to operate at a much reduced capacity to enable social distancing.

Embracing a new street cafe culture with more covers outside could for many make the difference between their business being viable or not.

Temporarily allowing these businesses to use nearby streets and other open-air spaces would help them lift the shutters when the time is right, protecting jobs and keeping people safe.

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Helping small businesses get through Covid-19 – Pay it anyway

So how is this for a random idea? I realised yesterday that I have a hair appointment on 2 April that I’m not going to be able to go to. My husband is in a high risk group. And, according to  the small print in the Public Health England guidance,  so am I.

It looks like we’ll be spending the next few weeks with as little social interaction as possible.

But our income, at least in the short term, isn’t going to be affected by this. Unfortunately, small businesses, especially independent ones face an existential threat. Hospitality and entertainment venues are going to be particularly badly affected.

Our hairdresser has been doing a great job for years. Why shouldn’t I just pay for my haircut anyway?  Same principle if you go to a restaurant that you love regularly.  Why not pay them what you would normally spend while you are sitting at home watching obscure things on Netflix or taking the party up on its offer to keep you out of mischief?  Same with the pub where you might regularly have a couple of pints a few times a week or the coffee shop where you stop for breakfast.

If your income is stable, it’s a relatively easy way to help out.

You could even think about some way to support that wonderful country hotel you love so much., or the campsite which will lose out from tourism.

Another suggestion I’ve seen is that you buy gift vouchers if possible, and look out for ways in which businesses are diversifying. Some restaurants will deliver meals. Some pubs will turn into off-licences.

It’s important to support the small, independent outlets which have served us well so that we have them when this nightmare is over.

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Why the Conservative Party can no longer be considered the natural party of business

Our market economy is certainly far from fair but as a result of a series of poor Government decisions, it is going to get a whole lot worse, for businesses and private citizens. The Conservative Party has often been considered the natural party of business, but a raft of policy outcomes on the horizon means this may no longer be the case.

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10 December 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • Lib Dems: Brexit is already costing our public services more than £350 million a week
  • Swinson warns of Johnson threat to human rights
  • Business backs the Liberal Democrats
  • Lib Dems are listening to Gen Z’s climate emergency fears

Lib Dems: Brexit is already costing our public services more than £350 million a week

The Liberal Democrats have revealed that Brexit is already costing the government £380–470 million a week – money that could have been spent on the NHS instead.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has estimated that GDP is £55–66 billion lower this year than it would have been without Brexit, mainly …

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Business leaders back Lib Dems in open letter

Senior figures from such companies as the New Covent Garden Soup Company, Superdry and Lovefilm are among business leaders who have endorsed the Liberal Democrats in a letter published in the I newspaper. It says:

Business is at the heart of our economy, providing the jobs that millions depend on, the prosperity that pays for public services, and the means by which we bring together our enterprise, ambition and creativity to find new solutions and opportunities.

We also know there is a big task ahead if we are to build a prosperous, fair, inclusive and sustainable economy fit for the 21st century. We must do more to address social and geographical inequalities. We need to act boldly and urgently to tackle the climate emergency. And we must create more quality jobs and investment if the UK is to truly prosper from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Success will require government and business working together in partnership.This means commitment to investing in the education, skills, innovation, infrastructure and regional development critical to building an inclusive, world-class digital and green economy. We need support for small and growing businesses; and commitment to fostering responsibility and sustainability.

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18 November 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Arcuri interview suggests Johnson abused his position as Mayor
  • Umunna: Repressive scenes in Hong Kong are ‘totally unacceptable’
  • Lib Dems: Leadsom shows Tories have no answers to key questions facing businesses
  • Swinson: Liberal Democrats will scrap business rates

Arcuri interview suggests Johnson abused his position as Mayor

Responding to Jennifer Arcuri’s interview on ITV last night, Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture Secretary Layla Moran said:

The evidence is mounting that the Prime Minister, the then mayor of London at the time, absolutely abused his position to forward the business interests of his friend Jennifer Arcuri. This flouts the very rules he was meant to uphold and is

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WATCH: Jo Swinson’s speech to the CBI

Courtesy of the Guardian’s You Tube channel.

Jo talked about the Lib Dems being the party of business and set out our strategy:

The speech went down reasonably well. Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI head said afterwards:

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Swinson: The Liberal Democrats are the party of business

Today (18/11/19), Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson will be making a speech to business leaders at the CBI annual conference. She will be making the case that the Liberal Democrats are the natural party of business.

Jo Swinson is expected to say:

In an interview last week, Carolyn asked who the party of business is today.

The answer is clear. The Liberal Democrats are the natural party of business.

With the Conservatives in the pocket of Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn stuck in the 1970s, we are the only ones standing up for you.

Because we believe

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We must embrace being the party of business

The next election gives us a real opportunity. Brexit is shattering traditional party loyalties and both tired, old-parties are rapidly shifting towards polarising extremes, alienating swathes of their traditional support base.  

Given this, the Liberal Democrats are increasingly able to offer a political lifeboat to those who believe in sensible and evidence-based, rather than ideological-based policies.

One group that is ripe for the taking in the current climate, is the business community. 

Traditionally, business has strongly supported the Conservatives. However Brexit, combined with the lurch to the right of the Conservatives under Boris Johnson, means increasingly business feels alienated from what once they may have considered their “natural home”. 

It’s not all about Brexit either, with the divergent views of business over their support for HS2 and opposition to discriminatory migration proposals, it is clear there is a growing rift between the current Conservative leadership and the business community. This, combined with our pro-EU, internationalist outlook, means that businesses alignment with our policy goals and values is much more of a natural fit than continued alignment with an increasingly isolationist Conservative Party. 

Under Jeremy Corbyn, with policies that resemble a 1970’s socialist, the Labour Party cannot and will not offer any form of a home for business. Indeed, at a business industry fringe at their conference in Brighton, it took Corbyn twenty minutes of his speech, before he even mentioned the word “business”. The current Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, does not perform much better, and appears unreceptive to the idea that business and the private-sector must be part of the solution and not simply a problem. Given this, it seems likely that allies that Labour may once have had in business and industry, are likely to be dropping away even more rapidly than their Conservative counterparts.  

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LIB DEMS: by default, the only party for Business and sound economic management

The “new normal” was coined as a new lexicon by Mohamed El-Erian, the then head of the global financial firm PIMCO to describe the post-script of global finance following the financial crisis of 2007-08. 

With the torrent of news and scandal, it feels as though we are all becoming immune of not sensitised to an almost daily feed of political shocks and ever-more worsening language in the current political maelstrom. The new normal.

One aspect of the current pre-election phase – but also a reflection of a structural shift – is the position on public finances for the two parties. As Lib Dems should be able to capitalise on as the ONLY sensible party for economic stewardshipmost sensible centrists and business will recognise that the Tories have lost this mantle.

I wrote earlier about PM Johnson’s rapidly escalating fiscal promises that are clearly a pre-election gambit – a well-worn political strategy of governing parties over generations. I also highlighted the risks that the fiscal costs of a de facto government “bail out” by the Treasury in the event of a No Deal could easily get into figures and a scale that would test the UK’s reputation for economic management at the least, and the worst, risk a full-blown economic-financial crisis.  

A further extension into 2020 (June most likely) is now the baseline scenario. I’ll outline why separately.

A quick review therefore of the fiscal issues is apt but without going into policies specifically, or even the legality for some of Labour’s positions eg on sequestration of private school assets. 

These are my 3 main conclusions for the current new normal for economic management in the UK:

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9 July 2019 – the overnight press releases

Teachers agree – it’s time to scrap SATs

Responding to today’s indicative ballot by the National Education Union, revealing that 97% of primary school teachers want to replace Key Stage 2 SATs, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

Today’s ballot shows that teachers have had enough with SATs. They want to deliver a high-quality education, rather than be put under the unnecessary pressure of a high-stakes testing regime that offers no benefit for their class.

The pressure on headteachers and teachers to perform well cascades down the school to pupils. Teachers put on revision classes, booster sessions

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LibLink: Vince Cable: Don’t let healthy scepticism about China become paranoia

A tasty breakfast

As Business Secretary, Vince Cable was responsible for global trade and had to deal with the growing economic might of China. He writes about this in an article for City AM.

He has a stark warning for those seeking a trade deal. It’s not going to be much fun without 27 of your mates to watch your back:

And while the EU with its combined heft is able to be both tough and constructive, Britain on its own will be a largely powerless supplicant. I suspect that the Chinese, seeing Britain desperate for a trade deal of its own, will

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Vince: The time will come for the People’s Vote

So, Vince’s The Leader column on the Party’s website looks like it’s becoming a regular thing.

This week, he talks about Tuesday night’s Brexit votes:

If there is a big loser from yesterday it is Jeremy Corbyn; his speech was beyond abysmal, embarrassing to his own side. It was the culmination of two years of procrastination: sitting on the fence over Brexit. A Labour rebellion last night helped the government snuff out a whole series of constructive amendments which would have probably opened a way forward, perhaps to a People’s Vote.

So where do we go next? The Prime Minister has been sent to Brussels to renegotiate, reopening the Withdrawal Agreement on the ‘Irish Backstop’ which she has been told repeatedly is not negotiable. There is a possibility that, in search of a quiet life, the EU Heads of Government and the Commission give in and abandon Ireland. I think not.

So what happens next – soon the People’s Vote has its chance:

So after two weeks pursuing her backbenchers’ fantasies (more time wasting), Theresa May then comes back without a new agreement and we finally reach a dead end: the deal which she originally negotiated versus ‘no deal’. No Deal then becomes a live possibility – no longer just bluff in a dangerous game of chicken. I believe that if we reach that choice, sanity will prevail. Theresa May will see the logic in taking her deal to the country in a People’s Vote against the option of remain.

He spoke to Japanese companies this week and suggests that we are in for a quiet exodus:

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The Independent View: Prompt action needed to deal with late business payments

Almost a quarter of insolvencies (23%) are caused by late payment issues. That’s a staggering figure that equates to tens of thousands of businesses collapsing every year.

Many other small companies just about manage to absorb late payment, but the loss of income can stop them from investing and growing, it can also damage productivity and generally has a very negative impact. This negative impact isn’t just on the small business, its owners and employees but obviously has a knock-on effect on the wider economy too.

In response to this growing problem, the well intentioned and entirely voluntary Prompt Payment Code was introduced in 2012.

The Code simply requires large companies to pay their suppliers within a maximum of 60 days. Only 2,000 companies have signed it and some of these still pay people beyond 60 days because they know there is very little enforcement and no financial penalty for breaches.

As Liberal Democrat Baroness Burt recently said,

Late payment is a huge threat to British businesses and bitter experience has shown it’s not going to be eradicated by a voluntary Prompt Payment Code especially without any possibility of fines for persistent non-compliance.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is currently holding a call for evidence on the subject. Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), which has 140,000 members including thousands of licensed accountants who provide tax and accountancy services to over 400,000 British businesses, has responded by making three key recommendations for change:

    1. that the Prompt Payment Code be made compulsory for companies with more than 250 staff
    2. that payment terms should be halved from a maximum of 60 days to a maximum of 30 days
    3. that a clear, simple financial penalty regime for persistent late payment should be introduced and enforced by the Small Business Commissioner

These recommendations have gained widespread backing from small businesses, business groups and politicians including several senior Liberal Democrats. Lord Fox, the Liberal Democrat Business spokesperson, said

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A challenge for Labour on the development of jobs and businesses in Britain

What can the Liberal Democrats offer Labour voters who don’t like the way their great party is heading under Jeremy Corbyn? What, particularly, has our party to offer the working people of this country who have seen their standard of living drop under the Government’s austerity programme and can’t expect better if Brexit happens?

As the party that supports neither unbridled capitalism nor full-blooded socialism, we allow markets to operate as freely as possible, but intervene to ensure they are well-regulated and competitive, and to offer individual citizens greater powers and rights. “We want to build a new economy that really …

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Vince: Supermarket mega-merger must be referred to competition watchdog.

The news that two of the big four supermarkets in this country were in merger talks was greeted with concern with many people.

If this goes ahead, the new company would control 30% of the market which is in few enough hands as it is.

Vince Cable basically said that it was a no-brainer that this should be fully investigated before it was allowed. He said:

The grocery market – and the British shopper – already suffers from the mid-market being dominated by just a handful of big players. What the merger of the second and third biggest supermarkets threatens is the creation of

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A Case for British Chapter 11

It takes many years to develop a business and for it to grow. Enterprises employ millions of people who support their families and are the building blocks of our national wealth. Should we not be more supportive, as a society, when a company fails?

Since 2000, the number of businesses in the UK has increased each year, by 3% on average. In 2016, there were 2.2 million more businesses than in 2000, an increase of 64% over the whole period. Businesses actual employment of people has fallen since 2000 from around a third, to a quarter. This decline is due to the growth in self-employment. The total number of company’s insolvencies from 2013 to 2016 was just over 70,000 (Office of National Statistics).

In most countries, there are two tests for bankruptcy:

  • A company that cannot pay its debts because there is not enough money in the bank (this would tip a company in the UK into liquidation);
  • A company with liabilities that exceed its assets (the company can avoid liquidation if it can negotiate a deal with its creditors).

The UK’s insolvency system, on the whole, returns more money to creditors (as it’s more creditor centric) and is faster and cheaper than the United States, for example. However, a common complaint among struggling firms under the threat of insolvency is that the time for decision-making is too short. Critics believe firms need a longer period to consider their options and take decisions without jeopardising the company’s supply chain and increasing pressure on their cash flow, both of which will accelerate the commencement of insolvency. Therefore, there is a desire to ask the government to copy the Chapter 11 system in the United States, where companies are allowed 90 days’ grace.

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Vince Cable on Carillion: Shareholders are going to have to take a hit

Vince has been speaking about the Carillion crisis. The FT reports:

The Lib Dem leader’s intervention suggests the crisis at Carillion is about to become highly political; Sir Vince claimed last November that the government was “feeding” contracts to the company to try to keep it alive.

On Friday lenders to Carillion dismissed the company’s rescue plan and urged Downing Street to intervene.

But ministers will face fierce political criticism if they have to bailout a company which continued to receive major public contracts — including on the HS2 high speed rail line — after it issued a profit warning last July.

The government would also have to comply with EU state aid rules, but Sir Vince said that in the first instance the private sector should take a hit.

“The shareholders of the company are going to have to take a loss,” he told the BBC. “The creditors, the big banks who hold most of this debt, will have to write off some of it, perhaps replace some of it with shares.” 

You can watch his BBC interview here.

He’d earlier said on Twitter:

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Vince Cable: Lib Dems are the natural party of business

This morning, Vince Cable launched the Lib Dem Business and Entrepreneurs’ Network. It already has 80 leading figures from the business community, including angel investor Andrew Dixon and Chair of Allied Irish Banks Richard Pym.

He explained why the Lib Dems were the natural party of business:

And showed how the Government is letting business down:

Vince added:

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The Press Pack: A round-up of Lib Dem media comments – 22 August 2017

Here’s a roundup of  media comments made by Lib Dem parliamentarians and spokespeople today.

GP numbers

Norman Lamb slammed the Government for failing to deliver more GPs:

The government’s promise to recruit 5,000 more GPs by 2020 lies in tatters, with fewer GPs now than when this pledge was first made.

“The pitiful increase we have seen in recent months is nowhere near enough to cope with rising patient demand.

“This failure to recruit enough doctors will inevitably have a damaging impact on the ability of patients to access the healthcare they need.

“We are already close to breaking point, with people in many parts of the country struggling to get appointments with their GP.

“More doctors are urgently needed to guarantee a fully-staffed NHS that provides everyone with the care they need.

Swinson criticises UK support for Trump Afghanistan move

The government didn’t really get round to condemning Donald Trump’s appalling remarks in the wake of Charlottesville, but they were quick off the mark to support him sending more troops to Afghanistan. Jo Swinson said:

For once, sense seems to have prevailed in the White House.

“But to succeed in Afghanistan will require winning the hearts and minds of its people and working closely with neighbouring countries.

“On that front, Donald Trump has already done untold damage through his proposed refugee ban, Islamophobic comments and cack-handed approach to foreign affairs.

“The government’s rapid statement of support for Trump today contrasts with its failure to swiftly condemn his divisive views and actions in the past.

“Simply pouring more troops into Afghanistan will not work without a broader strategy involving careful diplomacy and redoubled efforts to build a stable government.”

Even Brussels must be tired of this waffle

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Cable: Tories and Labour have turned their backs on the economy and business

Vince Cable makes a major intervention in the election campaign today with a speech on the economy and Brexit. He is not going to mince his words.

He will

  • Accuse both Labour and the Conservatives of adopting a Brexit strategy almost designed to inflict maximum economic damage by rejecting membership of the single market and customs union, as well as other benefits of the EU
  • Warn that the economic storm clouds are already gathering once more from rising inflation, falling real wages and rising personal debt to slowing spending and growth
  • Highlight the Liberal Democrats’ positive economic plan, including boosting spending while still achieving a surplus on the current budget
  • State that “under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leadership’s model for economic management is the bankrupt, hyper-inflationary Venezuela.”

Here’s a flavour of what he’s going to say.

If we crash out of the single market and customs union and revert to World Trade Organisation terms, respected independent estimates suggest that our trade will slump by almost a third by 2030. Far from turning Britain into a centre for exports, the main thing we would export under Theresa May would be jobs.

Labour’s plans for a spending spree funded by taxing the rich and corporations have been described by the IFS as wholly unrealistic, and will certainly scare off the investment and talent that are fundamental to our global economy. The May-Farage extreme Brexit that Labour voted for will drive out high-earners and leading international companies, leaving lower tax receipts for public spending.

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Business leaders: Only Lib Dems are speaking for business and the people

In a letter, more than 50 business leaders, including Nicola Horlick and the founders of EBookers and Innocent Drinks, have said that they will be voting Liberal Democrat because of our stance on Brexit.

From the Times (£)

The 53 signatories who say they intend to vote Lib Dem include senior players in the investment and IT sectors, two industries that could be hit by a poor Brexit deal. They represent small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) rather than FTSE 100 companies.

“The Conservatives’ failure to even mention a transitional deal threatens Britain’s status as one of the best countries in the world with which to do business,” the letter reads. “While we may not have voted Liberal Democrat in the past and we may not agree with the party on all issues, they are now the only party speaking for business and the majority of Britons on the key issue at this election.”

Richard Reed, the co-founder of Innocent Drinks and board member of Britain Stronger in Europe, Dinesh Dhamija, the founder of the Ebookers travel site and the businesswoman Nicola Horlick are among the signatories.

In response, Vince Cable said:

The Liberal Democrats now have support from a large number of serious figures in the business community, showing that we are rapidly emerging as the party of business, both big and small.

Theresa May’s determination to take us out of the single market would devastate the financial sector, while taking us out of the customs union would cause incalculable disruption to manufacturing .

Theresa May herself warned of the Brexit dangers to our exports in a speech at Goldman Sachs. Since then she has taken on the agenda of Nigel Farage, who has understandably declared himself delighted with her.

That is scary. It is vital that the next parliament contains enough Liberal Democrat voices to argue for Britain’s future in the world’s most lucrative single market. The more Liberal Democrat MPs, the better the deal we can secure on Europe.

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Rennie: We need to keep access to EU markets easy for business

Willie Rennie argues today that we need to make sure that we keep access to EU markets easy for business. We don’t want to be putting borders up, creating more red tape, which could cause problems and cut jobs. He says:

At the heart of the argument for remaining in Europe is a single market, making trade easier, and allowing businesses based on innovation and excellence to thrive is going to underpin our future success.

That was the argument that won the independence referendum and is just as powerful now.

Three million jobs in Britain depend on Europe. We need to make Europe easy for business.

As part of Europe we are part of an economic market worth trillions. There are 500 million customers.

It means that a Scottish company that is good and efficient at its job can expand across the continent.

Easy access to 500 million customers is worth millions of jobs in Britain.

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It’s the UK itself not the EU holding our industry back.

Our EU membership is holding us back from trading with the rest of the world and awful EU regulation is to blame for struggling small businesses in the UK. Sound familiar? It’s the broken record of the Leave campaign’s business message. This group of politicians wants to portray the UK like a child who needs to have the umbilical cord cut, in order to be set free and conquer the world. In reality, leave or stay in the EU, there is plenty we could be doing to help business and trade, all of which is within our power today.

Lets start with tax. Current UK tax law runs into a total of a staggering 10 million words. Every Chancellor for the last 20 years has added to the problem and only recently has an office for tax simplification been set up, so far with little effect. Small businesses find it impossible to get through to HMRC on the phone while large corporates have easy access to HMRC officials in order to do deals like the one Google struck. Fixing the complexity in our tax system would really help our small business owners to thrive much more than repealing EU legislation actually designed to ensure the single market works for all.

When it comes to the internet, the UK’s slowest recorded broadband speed is slower than at the base camp at Everest. This is like a 1900’s steam train compared to Korea where speeds 25 times higher have been recorded. It is the lack of willingness to invest by government and industry in broadband infrastructure and not the EU which are to blame here.

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Pro-business or pro-enterprise? Why the difference matters

 

What does it mean to be a ‘pro-business’ political party?

This is not an easy question to answer, although that has not stopped many political parties from describing themselves as such. Businesses are not homogenous: from sole trader to global corporation, the requirements and priorities of firms are as diverse as the requirements and priorities of the individuals who own and staff them. Policies and laws that are highly favourable to one business or sector can be – and frequently are – disastrous for another. It is entirely possible to adopt policies that are pro some businesses, but where some businesses win others must lose. Choosing which businesses win and which lose is inherently political.

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Vince Cable and Chuka Umunna criticise Government’s industrial strategy in Independent article

Vince Cable has teamed up with Chuka Umunna in an Independent article that warns of the likely consequences if Vince’s former department of Business, Innovation and Skills suffers the massive cuts predicted. It’s not a protected department, so its budget could be cut by up to 40%. That would make it difficult to continue Vince’s successful industrial strategy:

One of the positive legacies of the Coalition government was the establishment of an ‘industrial strategy’ with the same objectives. It was successful in attracting a lot of support from business in general and in key sectors like automotive, aerospace, bio-tech, creative industries, energy and railway supply chains and construction. In vehicles and aerospace, especially, a large amount of private sector and government money was committed to R&D. The approach was flexible, accommodating and welcoming of disruptive technologies and the emergence of new industries. Before the election, the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems (and the SNP) subscribed to the industrial strategy.

There has been a deafening silence since. We are now past the first 100 days: the government’s honeymoon. There is no excuse for lack of clarity over a key area of government policy. There may be an innocent explanation: a wish by the Conservative government to rebrand the industrial strategy as part of its ‘Long Term Economic Plan’, while work quietly proceeds in the background. A more worrying possibility is that the ideologues in government have got their teeth into it believing, against all previous experience, that market failures will correct themselves and that the UK economy will achieve balanced, sustained, recovery thanks to resurgent banking and app start-ups in Shoreditch.

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Where are the Lib Dem business networks?

 

After many years on the cusp of joining the party, I finally made the decision to join the Lib Dems immediately after that fateful day in May. My motivations, I am sure, were much the same as those of many other waverers – despite having a stubborn, independent streak that made me loath to join a party (any party), and hesitation over the policies of the Coalition, I could no longer stand by and expect others to shoulder the burden of protecting liberal values and defending individual rights.

I can safely say that I haven’t regretted my decision for a moment: the warm welcome from Greenwich Borough Lib Dems, and the party as a whole, has reaffirmed my belief that liberalism has a bright future in English politics.

As a small business manager, one aspect of the Lib Dems that I have always found most attractive is its independence from vested interests. Not being dominated by – or acting as a mouthpiece for – the sectional interests of organised labour or powerful corporations is, for me, what allows our party to genuinely stand for individual rights and wellbeing. It is this independence which also makes the Lib Dems the natural home of the entrepreneur, the shopkeeper and the SME business manager – the small and the brave – as the social freedoms which we strive for as a party are those which independent businesses require in order to thrive.

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The Independent View: Ministry of Justice costs reforms undermine Vince Cable’s aim of tackling rogue directors

Statue of Justice - The Old BaileyA key message the Business Secretary Vince Cable has been keen to stress during his time in government is the need to tackle rogue directors: he’s announced plans to produce “stronger deterrents” and “more robust sanctions” to quash ‘dodgy directors’. Dr Cable’s – and insolvency minister Jo Swinson’s – policies on protecting creditors from rogue directors are certainly worth developing, but they are at risk of being undermined by policies being put forward by the Ministry of Justice.

The Ministry of Justice has been seeking to tackle the costs of litigation, but its reforms will end up having a big impact on the insolvency profession’s ability to combat rogue directors and will have disastrous and costly consequences for small business creditors and the taxpayer.

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Vince Cable writes…Strengthening confidence in the UK’s takeover laws

London Stock Exchange photo by Jam_90sThe attempted but abortive Pfizer takeover bid for AstraZeneca has triggered a timely political debate in the UK about whether the safeguards in mergers and takeover legislation are adequate – especially when significant research and development assets are at stake.  It is now clear to me that some changes should be made.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments
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  • User AvatarDavid Garlick 14th Jul - 10:52am
    Item was response to a measure that proposes cutting off one existing supply of care workers whilst offering nothing to bring forward the 'young people'...
  • User AvatarRoland 14th Jul - 10:50am
    @Manfarang - you know how to compliment people! :) The young people of today won’t be getting a state pension until they are 68 years...
  • User AvatarGlenn 14th Jul - 10:49am
    Theakes No, I don't give up ever. I always say, if it looks like a police state, it is one.
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 14th Jul - 10:44am
    "As the UK has a large coastal area, critics have often argued the system is unfair." It's also unfair that the European countries have much...
  • User Avatarexpats 14th Jul - 10:34am
    Ruth Bright 14th Jul '20 - 8:42am.............Unimaginative approach on social care from Jardine. These are fulfilling jobs for school leavers here if they are nurtured...
  • User AvatarRoland 14th Jul - 10:32am
    "Key sectors like construction and hospitality, already facing enormous challenges, will face staffing shortages." So what? Get with it, and stop being the rah-rah crowd...