Sunday, 21 December 2008

GUEST POST: Labour's new attack on small business

This is a Guest Post by Conservative councillor and blogger Tony Sharp who authored The Waendel Journal.

If anyone needed further evidence of Labour's hatred of entrepreneurship and desire to create wealth, then news this weekend provides it. War has long since been declared on small business, but a new front has been opened up by Labour's insipid proposal to give bailiffs the power to restrain people in their own homes and offices to execute the collection of debt.

Not content with finding new ways of limiting the rights of the individual in our society, Brown's government now wants to erode the integrity of our homes and business premises. Make no mistake, under the proposed change in the law it is not just householders who stand to have their homes invaded and property removed to pay a bad debt. Small and medium businesses are at even greater risk. The rules concerning commercial debts are different to personal debts. Businesses can have bailiffs set on them more quickly and have fewer options to head off action that can see everything needed to keep a business trading, from equipment to stock, carted off and sold - perhaps resulting in a business collapse. When mistakes are made by the bailiffs the effects can be extremely damaging.

Under Labour red tape has flourished costing small businesses valuable time and money, corporation tax rates have risen and the recent temporary 2.5% cut in VAT was not passed on in full to the smallest firms that are part of the Flat Rate VAT scheme. The fact is Labour's claim to support small business does not stand up to even cursory scrutiny. To Labour small business is like a pinyada, to be beaten repeatedly until it releases its financial contents.

Any government that is serious about promoting economic recovery would take measures that would give small businesses a chance to survive and restructure. Once a business has been cleaned out by bailiffs it has little if any hope of it turning around to provide more employment and generate more wealth. When this happens its employees lose their jobs are often forced to seek help from the state, tax revenues are lost and there is less choice for consumers about where to buy goods and services.

Far from witnessing joined up government, we are observing kneejerk politics of the very worst kind, spawned by political failure and incompetence. We are seeing an assault on those who resist dependence on the client state, with actions designed to force people into it. Small business needs to be rescued from this government's incessant hostility. People need to be made aware of the destruction being wreaked on the very part of the economy that needs to flourish if a recovery is to be achieved. Maybe then they will realise that the econmic arsonist known as Gordon Brown is not the person to rely on in these troubled times. Far from fixing the problems he is pouring oil on the fires he stoked up during his time as Chancellor.

Labour is not working, and under Labour so are far fewer of our countrymen. To stop the rot we must vote them out at the next election.


Anonymous said...

And vote for who?? The Tories are worse than Labour, they are supposed to be in opposition and do nothing about a government that is destroying the country.

Tony Sharp said...

Many people including myself are frustrated at the Conservative response to the actions concerning the recession.

But whether I like it or not, the Conservatives may be unable to make specific proposals at this time simply because only Labour knows the true extent of our country's financial problems.

Labour has been careful to put as much debt as possible off balance sheet. It has consistently sought to hide or mask problems of its making behind other issues. In such circumstances only a psychic would be able to make decisions based on what the economy can bear.

In all fairness the only time a Conservative position can be properly formulated is when they have access to the books.

Letters From A Tory said...

Small businesses really are the life-blood of this country and there has surely got to be some manifesto material somewhere in this post. Good work, Tony.

Anonymous said...


William Gruff said...

Your arguments might carry more conviction if the examples you have given supported them.

The only 'mistake' that seems to have been made in the first example is that the bailiffs visited the wrong business, although it was owned by the same individual as the business that was actually in default of 'council tax'. Had the man not owed the money no visit would have been necessary. You're not the sort to turn a blind eye to council tenants who default on rent and council tax yet you appear to argue for preferential treatment for small business proprietors.

Those staff who may lose their jobs in the second example would actually be better off on benefits since the report states that some of them have not been paid for three months, even though the proprietress has presumably found enough money to support herself - or run up debts with others that she cannot or will not pay.

Such people deserve to be put out of business, and in case you think I'm anti small business: I have spent most of my working life in self-employment and hope to be self-employed again. My cash flow was constantly strained by people who felt they could ignore my polite requests for settlement of accounts, sometimes for nine months or more, and was just one of many factors that eventually led to my going out of business. I wasn't in business to subsidise the businesses of others with interest free loans, but that is what bad debtors, such as those in your examples, are actually demanding of their creditors.

I agree that the enhanced powers that have been given to bailiffs cannot but result in abuses and injustices but the arguments you have made here lack substance.

Henry North London said...

Vote for your libertarian candidate

Read the manifesto at

James Higham said...

The blogosphere is getting very crossover lately. Welcome, Tony. Merry Christmas to both you and Steve.

John of Enfield said...

The really sad point about this is that NuLab will not even remotely comprehend what you are on about! I was talking to a successful businessman on Saturday & he was telling me that his small company was being locked out of selling to Local Government because he was not able to meet the criteria that NuLab paid the councils to impose "Diversity" "Ecology" & the like. The large companies winning this business were then outsourcing to Eastern Europe & Asia rather than utilising UK resources!