If Labour is to make inroads in the coming years, we must reinforce Labour’s position as the obvious party for those of us who are self-employed, own and run small and medium-sized businesses.
There is no doubt that British businesses, both large and small, are vital to the future success of our country. But we know that in today’s tough economic climate many face significant challenges as they seek to expand and develop. The Labour party should be determined to recognise and support enterprise so we can modernise and reform our economy to create the jobs and growth the United Kingdom needs.
The previous Labour government stood shoulder to shoulder with those who ran small businesses, recognising them as the backbone of economic growth in communities throughout the country. As wealth-generators and innovators, small business-owners know the value of hard work as much as anyone else and Labour must continue to embrace them.
This is why Small and Medium Enterprise for Labour is being formed, to ensure that we remain at the heart of the party’s economic agenda going forward. We hope to open up a two-way dialogue which allows small and medium enterprises to promote themselves to the Labour party, and vice-versa.
Last year, small firms accounted for 99.3 per cent of all private sector businesses, nearly half of all private sector jobs and a third of private sector turnover in the UK. They employed some 15.2m people and had a combined turnover of £1.6tn. These figures alone show the overwhelming importance of these businesses to our economy.
As we look to compete on a global scale, small businesses promoting innovative products and services will become ever more crucial to the UK’s success. It is through these businesses that Britain can continue to punch above its weight on the international scene.
The Labour party is a movement with social justice at its heart, and small businesses have a crucial role to play in advancing this agenda. They are the engine which can ensure that the Labour party does not become a debating society or party of protest alone.
Through small and medium enterprises for Labour, we want to provide a forum whereby SMEs can work in partnership with the Labour party and continue to inform our economic policies:
- SMEs for Labour seeks to strengthen relations between the small, medium, micro, owner and family run businesses with the Labour Party
- We support constructive and informed discussion within the Labour movement on issues impacting on SMEs
- We work closely with trade unions, employers’ groups and individuals, encouraging strong partnerships and collaboration
- We organise meetings for Labour Parliamentarians and others, so that a greater understanding of the challenges faced by SMEs can be gained.
We are confident that SME4Labour will play a crucial role in making Labour once again a party of government.
To find out more about the SME4Labour please visit our website http://www.sme4labour.org follow us on twitter via @SME4LABOUR to hear more about our future events.
Ibrahim Dogus is a member of SME4Labour and the founder and director of the Centre for Turkey Studies
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