Focusing on the ‘engine room of our economy’
OVER the past few months there has been a line in the diary between ‘pre-election’ and ‘post-election’, so I am very grateful indeed to people in my constituency who have supported me so that I am now back as your MP.
One of the engagements which was put into place before the election, with the proviso ‘subject to what happens on May 7’, was the very pleasant duty of welcoming members of the Federation of Small Businesses to a reception at the House of Commons.
This is actually for all the constituencies in the Thames Valley area, for which I agreed to act as host. A wide range of small and medium-sized enterprises will be represented at the meeting. I and my Parliamentary colleagues will be hearing the views of business people from this important sector.
Small businesses in our area really are the engine room of our economy. Without the small businesses, we would not have the range of services which we need, for many larger enterprises rely on the input of the smaller sub-contractors and suppliers. That is one reason why I would always urge the larger organisations to have policies in place to make sure that their small suppliers are paid promptly, because the smaller businesses often don’t have the margins to extend long-term credit.
I have pointed this out before, but, if every small business took on one employee, there would be no unemployment. Full employment was one of the goals set out in the legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech at the end of May.
Another goal is to reduce regulation on small businesses which I am sure will be welcomed by all those people who would much rather get on with their firm’s activities, rather than ‘working for the government’!
There are plans to create a Small Business Conciliation Service which could help problems such as that of late payment. Business rates is another area for action, ahead of the 2017 revaluation.