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CONFERENCE MOTION PASSED Businesses and workers need certainty and support

September 17, 2021 8:20 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

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99% of businesses in our economy are small businesses. Unfortunately the Government is simply not doing enough to protect them.

The pandemic devastated small businesses as they were forced shut overnight. Retail and hospitality were among the hardest hit. As a result, many businesses are in a rent-arrears crisis with unpaid commercial rent totalling £6 billion.

Covid-19 also took a toll on the UK's towns and highstreets. People lost employment opportunities in the area and the sense of community fostered by local businesses. The Federation of Small Business has released a dire warning that 250,000 businesses could be forced to close by the end of the year.

Small businesses can't have their problems ignored. They need action now.

Today at conference our members called for dedicated support schemes to protect those sectors worst affected by Covid. Included in our small business support package is:

  • Giving all small businesses a cash injection to create jobs. We would do this by quadrupling annual Employment Allowance for two years, allowing them to pay zero national insurance contributions for for their first five employees
  • Maintaining the 5% VAT for hospitality and tourism until the end of 2021/22.
  • Supporting jobs that are still impacted by the pandemic, by extending furlough and self employed income support to the end of 2021.
  • Members also called on the Government to fix Kickstart and focus on tackling unemployment amongst young people - especially from a black and ethnic minority background.
  • Helping small businesses trade with the EU by renewing the Brexit Support Fund.
  • Unifying all the information on UK-EU trade on a single platform where it is easily accessible.

Read our new policy in full

This government has failed countless small businesses and employees during this pandemic. We call for clear policy and not last minute knee-jerk reactions.

It is urgent that the government puts in place the right support for economic recovery post pandemic.

We must act now to ensure our economy is open, fair and creates new job opportunities.