Tories showcase SME-friendly policies

22-08-2006

The Conservative party will today unveil new policies designed to boost productivity within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as encouraging entrepreneurial spirit among potential businesspeople.

George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, will address the Forum of Private Business (FPB) later today, calling on the government to make it easier for smaller businesses to win public sector contracts.

He believes that the government should also scrap its insistence that three-years of accounts are required in order for businesses to be contracted.

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. Not only do they employ over half of the entire UK workforce and generate over half of the total UK turnover, but they're also responsible for bringing new products and services to market, generating competition and expanding consumer choice," he will later say.

The Tories' plans include linking the period of charge for national insurance to income tax systems, something the party will be lobbying Lord Forsyth's tax reform commission to achieve.

Mr Osborne also believes that business involvement, both small and large, should be increased in adult education centres and policies, a line taken up by the FPB chairman, Len Collinson, who will echo Mr Osborne's call for a "new direction".

"The FPB has always been supportive of aligning the period of charge for the national insurance and income tax systems. We encourage small businesses to take part in the provision of education at all levels, primary education is the starting point," he will say.

Commenting on today's proposals, Carol Undy, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "The FSB is apolitical and works with any political party that will advance the cause of our members. These proposals from the Conservative party certainly do that and we warmly welcome them."


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