MP Gareth Davies on Small Business Saturday and the autumn statement
Small Business Saturday is tomorrow, writes Conservative MP for Stamford and Grantham Gareth Davies, so let me begin by encouraging readers, with Christmas fast approaching, to join me in throwing on a warm coat, hitting the high street, and showing support for the many brilliant small businesses we have locally.
Any given week, visiting small businesses is always a highlight for me. It is something I never get tired of, which is just as well because there is no shortage of fantastic firms in our area.
They include Hawkens Gingerbread in Grantham, continuing centuries of baking heritage; Full of Beans in Bourne, and their delicious coffee; and the Stamford Notebook Company, who produced the notebooks for the recent G7 conference in Cornwall. I always try to highlight the many achievements of our local businesses and will continue to do so.
Small businesses truly are the lifeblood of our economy and the backbone of our community – a source of vitality and strength. They create jobs, raise incomes, and build the technologies of tomorrow; they breathe life into our high streets and contribute billions to help pay for our public services; and they provide opportunities for everyone to progress in life and provide for the people they care about.
Supporting small businesses means supporting all of these things and more, which is why it is one of my top priorities.
So I was delighted to speak in Parliament last week in support of an autumn statement which does so much to deliver on that priority.
One of the biggest measures, worth £4.3billion, was to reduce business rates. The 75 per cent discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses was extended for another year, having already saved the average independent shop over £20,000. The small business rate multiplier will also remain frozen. These policies are set to save the average independent pub over £12,800 next year, and frozen alcohol duty will mean that those pulling pints will continue to pull in punters.
Another crucial initiative is tackling the unfairness of late payments. The Government is taking a lead on this with new rules: in order to win public sector contracts, 30-day payment terms must in future be applied and proven throughout the sub-contract supply chain. This rightly takes responsibility for creating a culture where it is simply unacceptable for larger firms to put small business’ cash flows under strain for their own convenience.
Specific to our area, a new investment zone was announced for the East Midlands. Investment zones identify key sectors, bring together local authorities and industries, and provide £80 million of Government support to drive growth. The specific location is still to be announced, but it is expected that a combination of tax incentives and infrastructure investment will attract an additional £383m in private investment and help to create 4,200 jobs in the region over the next 10 years.
On an individual level, while the two per cent cut to National Insurance contributions made headlines, self-employed workers were also at the forefront of the chancellor’s mind, with two cuts worth an average of £350 to two million self-employed people across the country.
For our country and our communities to thrive, we must support enterprise, energy, and endeavour wherever they are found. This week and every week, they are most certainly found in our small businesses. Let’s give them our support.