Small Businesses in Britain feel “better supported today than at any time” and Britain is “open for business” Lord Risby told the House of Lords following a recent debate in the House of Lords. The recent debate on small businesses, which will be of great interest to hundreds of thousands of Asians running small businesses in the UK, was focussed on what the Government is doing to encourage small businesses to grow.
Peers from all sides of the House praised the impact and importance of small businesses, and many of the Government’s initiatives since 2010, including improving access to finance, cutting red tape, and allowing SMEs to more easily bid for Government contracts were commended.
A number of areas where future improvements could be made were also discussed. These included getting more small businesses to export (Lord Empey), more support for high-tech start-ups (Lord Freeman) and inspiring more young people to think about a career in business (Lord Borwick).
Responding on behalf of the Government, Minister for Business, Lord Popat stated that supporting small businesses was his ‘favourite subject’. He went onto outline how he’d enjoyed his own career running a small business for 30 years and that ‘Business is […] in my DNA’ as he’d followed his father and grandfather in starting and growing a business.
Lord Popat said he was ‘proud to have been a member of a Government who have done so much to support small businesses.’ He spent over 10 minutes detailing initiatives that the Conservative Government had established to help SMEs, including cutting corporation tax, cutting national insurance bills, increasing bank competition and improving infrastructure.
The debate follows hot on the heels of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment (SBEE) Bill, which has passed the House of Commons and the Committee Stage in the House of Lords. It is due to be approved by the House of Lords next month.
The SBEE Bill is focused on making life easier for small businesses, including measures to improve access to finance, make accessing public procurement easier and improving childcare provision.
Speaking about the Bill exclusively to Asian Voice, Lord Popat said that “Small Businesses employ 12.1 million people in the UK. They are the lifeblood of our economy and we are determined to support them. Since 2010 we’ve cut corporation tax, doubled the annual investment allowance and reformed apprenticeships. But there is more to do to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.
“This Bill has a whole range of features to help small businesses. We’re reforming the insolvency laws to move towards the US system, streamlining the company registration process and reforming banking to allow cheques to be deposited electronically and remotely so that they can access their cash quicker.”
The World Bank’s Doing Business 2015 report ranked Britain eighth out of 189 economies - an improvement in our performance of two places on the previous year. Within the European Union the UK is behind only Denmark