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We passionately support small businesses. Just this week, the new employer allowance has cut £2,000 from the national insurance bill of small companies to help them to grow and create jobs. That builds on the more than 15,000 start-up loans, the £1 billion saved by cutting red tape and the 32,000 businesses helped to export this year alone.
Last Friday, I spent valuable time with some very hard-working high street traders in Chagford, an important town in my constituency. Many of the people there were very worried about the level of business taxation, yet they were unaware of the £2,000 reduction in charges for national insurance contributions and the reduction in rates to which the Minister has just referred. What steps is my hon. Friend taking to ensure that companies up and down the country are aware of these important incentives?
My hon. Friend is a constant advocate for small businesses locally in Devon. He has raised the issue of business rates and business taxation with me. He will know that the £1,000 off business rates for retailers has been welcomed across the board; it is a small step towards addressing the challenges that business rates pose. This is all part of our long-term plan.
Is the Minister aware that one of the smallest businesses in Britain now is the mining industry? There are three pits left, and 1,300 miners are due to be sacked at two of those pits. That will make it a minuscule small business. Instead of helping those pits to stay open and give them tax breaks, as they do to the oil companies, what have this Government done to that small business? They have just stolen £700 million out of the mineworkers pension fund this February. What a story to tell those miners. Come on—help ’em out!
This morning, we announced a package of support for the mining industry, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will want to go and look at it before raising any further questions.
Is it not interesting that no Conservatives or Liberal Democrats are standing up to ask a question about small business? I saw a small business in Wrexham and spoke to Mr Phil Jackson of Fotofire, who told me that the Jobs Growth Wales scheme has enabled him to employ young people in a rapidly expanding media business. Will the Minister do something positive by looking at a scheme that is providing jobs for more than 9,000 young people in Wales, with 75% employment for those who go on the scheme in the first place?
I am very glad to say that unemployment is falling throughout Wales as part of our long-term economic plan across the country. I am sure that in Wrexham, as elsewhere in the country, small businesses will be celebrating the fact that they are getting £2,000 off their jobs tax, which the Labour party has proposed to put up.