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Corbyn leadership welcomed but clarity called for on business policy

As Jeremy Corbyn enter his second full day as Labour leader his plans to freeze rates for small businesses and stand up for independent entrepreneurs have been welcomed by the industry.

Corbyn, who finally ascended to the leadership of his party this weekend, has previously laid out plans to back small businesses and support entrepreneurship.

But his appointment of left wing ally John McDonnell as shadow chancellor has increased fears that businesses could suffer under so called ‘Corbynomics’.

However, the main focus of the pair’s policies appears to be large corporation with plans in place to cut the £93bn which Labour claims is currently being paid in subsidies to some of the largest firms, whilst supporting SME’s.

Corbyn laid out his plans during his leadership campaign when he committed to supporting startups and SME’s with the launch of his ‘better business’ plan – a dedicated manifesto SME’s.

Alongside the rate freeze this manifesto pledged to increase public investment in the nations digital infrastructure, provide more support to the self-employed and provide fair rents for small businesses.

Corbyn said of his plans: “The current government seems to think being “pro-business” means giving a green light to corporate tax avoiders and private monopolies.

“I will stand up for small businesses, independent entrepreneurs, and the growing number of enterprises that want to co-operate and innovate for the public good.

“I will also address two key issues holding back British business: lack of skills and of investment. My ‘Better Business’ plan will level the playing field between small businesses and their workers who are being made to wait in the queue behind the big corporate welfare lobby the Tories are funded by and obsessed with.”

And now Corbyn’s position is confirmed the sector has welcomed his plans to support business but warned that more detail needs to be provided before people can get too excited.

Louise Beaumont, head of public affairs and marketing at SME investor GLI Finance, praised Corbyn’s plans but said more specific details are needed – especially about financing.

She said: “If we are to believe Corbyn’s recently announced Better Business plan, his success in the leadership election could well be good news for Britain’s SMEs following his pledge to freeze rates for small businesses and stand up for independent entrepreneurs.

“However, there has been scant detail in his plans to address the major challenge of access to finance for the UK’s SMEs – which are, after all, the engine room of growth for our economy.

“This economic handbrake is something that must be looked at in order to help support the country’s broader recovery.”

The burden of providing that detail now falls on Angela Eagle, Labour’s new spokesperson for business, innovation and skills.

And Beaumont has called on her to act quickly and outline Labour’s plans for the sector.

She said: “Eagle must move quickly to outline her stance on this issue particularly given the substantial progress in this regard, most notably through the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act and its increased focus on developing a regulatory framework that supports the long term growth of the alternative finance sector.

“What must not happen is that Westminster allows political jostling to disrupt this positive momentum and distract from the real task of creating a credit ecosystem that is fit for purpose and supports the country’s entrepreneurial talent, and economic growth.”