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Liberal Democrats pledge startup allowance for new businesses

Rebecca Smith | 21 September 2015 | 9 years ago

Tim Farron became leader of the Liberal Democrats after Nick Clegg resigned
Tim Farron became leader of the Liberal Democrats after Nick Clegg resigned
The Liberal Democrats have prioritised small businesses as part of a move to target the centre ground, offering a startup allowance fund worth 2, 600 or 100 a week to new small firms.

Leader Tim Farron said his party recognised the courage of those who seek to create something new. While Labour have said they want to strip government support for businesses and the Tories focus on giving tax cuts to giant corporations, we want to focus on entrepreneurs and small business seeking to grow, he added.

The allowances, announced at the party’s conference in Bournemouth, would be paid for through reversing cuts to corporation tax announced by chancellor George Osborne in the Summer Budget.

The policy forms part of the party’s efforts to reestablish a presence among voters, after its poor general election performance the worst since 1970. The Liberal Democrats managed to hold just eight of their previous 57 seats, with cabinet ministers Vince Cable, Danny Alexander and Ed Davey all ousted.

Farron’s pro-business move reflects his aim to occupy the political centre-ground he feels Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has moved away from. A Liberal Democrat source said it was an unashamed land grab for those Labour voters who understand and care about Britain’s economic stability and who look at Corbyn’s offering and despair?.

They felt it was a clear sign that we are on the side of those who are aspirational and want to build something for themselves. Makingbusiness as a focus will be part of an attempt to reposition the Liberal Democrats as a viable opponent to the Conservative government. Farron had said at a rally that if Labour aren’t interested in standing up to the Tories and providing a credible opposition, that’s their funeral.

Farron added that his party believes, if you have a dream you should be supported to fulfil it? and those creating firms should be celebrated.

The membership of the Liberal Democrats has grown since the underwhelming general election performance increasingby ten per cent to 50, 000 in the 72 hours after 7 May alone, while the youth branch has increased by 160 per cent to 7, 400.

This effort to appeal to small businesses follows the government’s unveiling of its?Enterprise Bill, with a particular focus on tackling the growing issue of late payments to suppliers. The new small business commissioner will help direct firms towards available mediation services when they have a complaint.

Small businesses are owed as much as 26.8bn in late payments according to Bacs statistics, though Sage has conducted research indicating the figure could actually be as high as 55bn.

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