Small Businesses

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 10:35 am on 15th May 1987.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Roger King Mr Roger King , Birmingham, Northfield 10:35 am, 15th May 1987

I am grateful for that correction. I should have looked at the small print at the bottom. The leaflet informs us of the problems that the small business man has faced which the Government have tackled successfully. Taxation has been one way of tackling those problems. Taxation changes mean that those starting small businesses will be adequately rewarded for the risk if they are successful. Of course, many are not, but a large number are. That is our fundamental belief. If the opportunity presents itself to get into a high income bracket and to retain much of one's income, it is worth aiming for and achieving. But that is less likely to happen if the Government take 98 per cent. of one's income. We have created the desire to take a chance to accumulate wealth for small business men, their families and employees.

Obviously, we need to reduce the burden of regulations facing the small business man. The Government have been keen to address their mind to that. They have ensured that planning authorities have been urged to help small businesses. Simpler and more flexible building regulations have come into force in England and Wales. Employment protection legislation affecting small businesses has been eased. A small business expands and takes on people. It is important to be able to release people from employment at relatively short notice and at little cost. If a small business is shackled to making substantial redundancy payments, development is hindered. Small businesses go up and down, up and down in their development cycle. They need to shed labour, take on labour, shed labour, and so on, and there is nothing wrong in that. Of course, it is unfortunate that many people are in the difficult position of being in work one day, and out the next, but they should be secure in the knowledge that other small businesses are taking on labour.

I am pleased to note that the Government have taken steps to establish an entrepreneurial outlook in our education system. We must step up our activities. A number of years ago, I talked to a class of about 30 16-year-olds on the subject of starting up one's own business. I asked, "What is the one thing that one needs to start a small business?" All the students, save one, said, "You need money." To a certain degree, one does need money. But one person said, "You need an idea." We need to stimulate that sort of outlook. We need to broaden people's horizons and make them aware that there are limitless opportunities in the education system and that, once people have completed their education, they can go out in the world and take up the challenges and opportunities of creating their own businesses. Only if people have that attitude—in far too many places our education system is not engendering it—can we hope to create the entrepreneurial society and jobs that we desperately need.