Small Business

If you run a small business, then UKIP is the party for you. We will do everything we can to help you be competitive in Britain and the global market.

At the start of last year, there were an estimated 5.2 million small businesses in the UK, together employing over 12 million people and having a combined turnover of £1.2 trillion.
We find our greatest innovators and entrepreneurs within our small businesses. The businesses they start and grow will take us out of the economic turmoil we’ve suffered in recent years and back into the black.
Yet, too often, our small businesses are not supported. They struggle to get finance to set up or expand their businesses. Larger companies who don’t pay invoices on time, damage their cash flow. Business rates can be prohibitively high. Excessive regulations stream out of Brussels, adding huge administrative and financial burdens to the challenges already faced by small businesses. All this must stop.

REDUCING BUSINESS RATES

Business rates as a tax are a great burden on business and
especially so on small businesses, where they represent a
disproportionately high fixed cost. The Small Business Rate
Relief currently only applies up to a rateable value of £12,000,
meaning many small and medium-sized businesses receive
no relief at all. UKIP recognises this often rapidly-growing
sector needs much greater support and we will change the
Small Business Rate Relief as follows:

  • If a business has only one propertyand the rateable value is less than £50,000, the business will get 20 per cent rate relief
  • If the business has mor than one property, the 20 per cent rate relief will still apply, provided the total rateable value of all properties is less than £50,000
  • Other existing business rate reliefs will not be affected and will apply where the relief provided under those schemes is greater than 20 per cent 1.5 million in total, have a rateable value of less than £50,000, so are potentially eligible for this 20 per cent discount.

LATE PAYMENTS

According to the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, more than £20 billion is locked up at any one time in delayed late payments from large companies (defined as a company with over 250 employees) to small suppliers of goods and services.

Small businesses find cash-flow tough enough in the current economic climate. The last thing they need is to be bullied into providing interest-free loans to their customers.

It is not acceptable for big businesses to exploit smaller firms by deliberately delaying payments and UKIP will take firm action to stop this practice. Existing regulations are of little practical use: small businesses are reluctant to charge interest to customers and legal proceedings are expensive, time consuming and hardly an effective way to develop business relationships.

UKIP will introduce a scheme whereby small businesses will provide evidence of repeated late payments, beyond agreed terms, together with evidence that timely requests for payments have been made, to HM Revenue and Customs.

Based on the evidence - particularly if there are multiple complaints about the same company -HMRC can then carry out an inspection of that company’s records.

The identity of the complainant company will remain confidential.

If the large company is found to be systematically exceeding its contractual terms of payment with small businesses, a sanction of significant fines, proportionate to the extent of the abuse of terms, will be levied.

Fines would escalate for repeat offenders and be noted in the offending company’s statutory accounts.

UKIP will also end a growing practice whereby large companies extend their payment terms to small companies, by arranging for their supplier to take out a bank loan to facilitate their demands.

ENCOURAGING LOCAL TRADE

Businesses in our town centres – and shops in particular - have suffered as a result of the dramatic increase in out-of-town trading estates and supermarkets. UKIP believes our town centres should be vibrant and profitable and that means encouraging locals, visitors and tourists into town, by removing barriers that act as a disincentive, such as expensive or restricted parking.

We will push every local authority in the country to offer at least 30 minutes free parking in town centres, high streets and shopping parades, to encourage shoppers into our town centres and boost local business.

ACCESS TO FINANCE

Despite schemes such as Funding for Lending and the Finance Guarantee, small businesses still find it difficult to secure funding in the current economic climate. While banks do of course have to consider risk, the lack of funding for small businesses will remain a drag on growth.

Small businesses themselves have to consider what credit terms they offer to their own customers. They are understandably fearful of bad debts.

To address both this issues, UKIP will pilot a scheme to improve access to trade credit insurance to small businesses. This insurance already exists in the market, but can prove restrictive for smaller companies, especially in certain business sectors.

Under our scheme, existing credit insurance providers will assess risk as they do now, independent of government involvement, but government would back a portion of the risk to enable cover to be provided more widely.

The security this policy provides will give small businesses the confidence to expand trade, while enhancing the attractiveness of their loan book as a more secure asset against which banks can lend them money. If successful, this pilot will be rolled out nationally.

CUTTING RED TAPE

Massive over-regulation by the European Union impacts disproportionately on smaller businesses. Fewer than one in ten British businesses trade with the EU, yet 100 per cent of them must comply with thousands of EU laws on employment, waste management, environmental regulations, product registration, health and safety and so on. This burden can be overwhelming for small firms.

A report by Business for Britain concluded that 3,580 new laws passed between 11 May 2010 and 1 October 2013 affected British business, with legislation running to over 13 million words. The EU’s most costly regulations cost Britain an estimated £27.4 billion a year, according to 2013 research by think-tank Open Europe. The Federation of Small Business says 61 per cent of small companies cite the ‘regulatory burden’ as a significant factor when closing or downsizing.

UKIP will repeal EU Regulations and Directives that stifle business growth. We will also allow traders to sell in whatever quantities or measures
they like. Only UKIP will get us out of the EU and release enterprise from the strangulation excessive regulation.

PUBLIC SECTOR CONTRACTS

UKIP will make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses with 250 employees or less to tender for public sector contracts, by removing the necessity to demonstrate compliance in areas irrelevant to the job being tendered for. This will benefit smaller companies and cut costs to the taxpayer.

THE BIGGER PICTURE

UKIP’s support for small businesses can be seen in many other policy areas too. For instance, small businesses will also get a boost from our policies to:

  • Allow young people to start an aprenticeship in place of four non-core subjects at GSCE level
  • Abolish tuition fees for those studying science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine
  • Allow employers to prioritise British citizens for jobs
  • Maintain suitable levels of immigration to fill the skills' gap
  • Cut fuel bills through the abolition of 'green levies' to cut business costs

UKIP believes in Britain’s small businesses, in its entrepreneurs, in its teams of sole traders, freelancers and self-starters and will back them whenever and however we can