Labour launches Doughty Report on backing small business

12 December 2011

Chuka UmunnaChuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, will today launch a Labour policy review document calling for intervention to channel private investment funds and public contracts towards small businesses.

Speaking in Birmingham at the start of an open question and answer session with around 100 entrepreneurs, Labour's Shadow Business Secretary will outline the recommendations from Nigel Doughty’s small business taskforce contained in a report entitled: ‘Fulfilling the promise of British enterprise’. Download the report in full here

These are recommendations from Nigel Doughty’s Small Business Taskforce for the Policy Review and will be considered as part of Labour's policy-making process.

Chuka Umunna MP will say:

“Building an economy that works for the 99 per cent means learning the lessons of the banking crisis.

“The Government’s isolation abroad is matched only by the extent to which it is out of touch with the needs of the real economy at home. The Prime Minister postures in Europe about protecting the City but delivers nothing; and he does nothing to help investment-starved small businesses.

“Nigel Doughty's Report sets out steps we should be looking at that could take us towards long term change in the relationship between the world of finance and the real economy."

The report highlights the failure of the Project Merlin targets and long term trends in SME loans becoming more expensive and shorter-term.

It proposes adopting measures introduced in the United States which are widely regarded as having fostered a wealth-creating enterprise economy for half a century.

These include:

*  Government-guaranteed lending programmes for small businesses channelled through the banks that are more ambitious in their scope than existing small-scale schemes. These need to focus on expanding access to long-term and affordable capital for small businesses.

*  A new lending organisation modelled on the American Small Business Investment Company programme, that opens up access to private investment for SMEs in the £250,000-£5m range, catalysed by government guarantees.

*  A champion agency for SMEs in Whitehall modelled on the Small Business Administration in the US, which would be headed by an entrepreneur – not a civil servant – so that we can take an entrepreneur’s understanding of regulation, small business taxation, procurement and finance to the heart of government.

*  Radical reforms of procurement policy to set the government – Britain’s biggest consumer – clear targets for channelling state contracts to innovative, high growth firms.