As has become common amongst both political parties and individuals running for new positions, Corybn has released separate “manifesto-type” documents outlining his approach to issues such as the climate, defence and housing.
His latest focuses on enterprise, and has been dubbed his “Better Business” plan. He has even launched a specific website, under the tagline: “Straight politics for small businesses, cooperatives and social enterprises.”
Straight off the bat there appears to be a problem – what about the mid-market and public market-residing corporates?
Corbyn begins, on his website, by attacking the current government’s stance on what “pro-business” is. Believing the administration’s approach as being one of “giving a green light” to corporate tax avoiders and private monopolies, Corbyn’s plans seem to focus on the smaller end of the market.
His key policies include: a small business rate freeze; a National Investment Bank; public investment to improve the UK’s digital infrastructure; and support for the self-employed.
As has been outlined by fellow Labour MP Toby Perkins previously, the small business rate freeze would be offset by “modest” increases in corporation tax.
On the subject of support for the self-employed, a review on social security arrangements for the self-employed and small business owners will be introduced – to secure each are entitled to, and receive, the same security as employees.
Corbyn also wants to bring about rent controls to stop local shops and small businesses be priced out, reverse adult education cuts and create a National Education service to produce a more skilled workforce, and boost the minimum wage.
He favours a “prosperity-focused” economy, which places a strong emphasis on the need for tax justice.
“You just cannot cut your way to prosperity so Britain needs a publicity-led expansion and reconstruction of the economy, with a big rise in investment levels,” he explained.
“Under these plans, Labour 2020 will make large reductions to the £93bn of corporate tax relief and subsidies. These funds can be used to establish a National Investment Bank to head a multi-billion pound programme of infrastructure upgrades and support for high-tech and innovative industries.
Read more about Labour and enterprise:
- Tony Blair and Chuka Umunna: Labour doesn’t appeal enough to businesses
- Labour leadership battle and Ashes victory show passion rules over emotion
- Lord Sugar calls time on his association with Labour citing “disillusionment”
Corbyn has also come out in attack of the government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative, describing it as “largely southern hot air”.
As the Labour leadership battle reaches its peak, a new survey has found he is cited as the best and worst for Labour’s prospects at the general election in 2020.
His attitude is in direct contrast to the one adopted by the Conservatives, courting big businesses such as Google, Amazon and Facebook with low rates of corporation tax to compliment the already established, and market-leading, financial services sector.
While it is admirable and encouraging to see Corbyn take a decidedly pro-small business and social enterprise stance, he must be careful to not cut the legs off of the economy’s body.
Britain’s global presence has been built up and consolidated by both homegrown corporates and those which have decided to set up European headquarters here. Granted, tinkering with the tax system is required to make sure more of profit stays in the UK, but each cannot be taken for granted.
Shadow business secretary and former Labour leadership candidate Chuka Umunna has long been a staunch supporter of smaller firms, and was the man to bring Small Business Saturday to the UK. However, he was also a politician who acknowledged the need to marry both big and small business – creating a balanced economy that can stand the test of time.
If Corbyn does win the Labour leadership contest, it remains to be seen whether he will create that balance or revert to a Green Party-like protest stance when it comes to business.
Do you think Jeremy Corbyn has what it takes to be a good party leader when it comes to business? Let us know in the comment box below.
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