The Labour Party is gearing up for one of its biggest Christmas gala before the year finishes and British Actor Kiran Rai had the honour of meeting with the shadow ministers and MP’s from Dawn Butler, John Mcdonnell and Sadiq Khan and Richard Corbet to making a 1 minute speech in-front of Parliament members and said ‘ I really hope Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister because what Theresa May is doing is terrible and I hope things change ‘
Kiran said ‘ its amazing that I’m able 26 years old and able to do what I love everyday and be noticed by parliament to join them before the new year finishes, what a honour! ‘
There are 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK, a number that continues to grow. Alone, they contribute £271bn to this country each year – enough to fund the NHS twice over. Small firms are not simply vital to the economy, they are the economy, making up 99.3% of private sector businesses.
But small businesses and the self-employed face a growing number of challenges. The questions surrounding Brexit are causing uncertainty. Not all small businesses can match the coping mechanisms put in place by their larger competitors. Others risk losing access to their largest or, in some cases, only market.
At the same time, the introduction of Universal Credit threatens to make many small business owners and the self-employed £3,000 worse-off each year, just when many are becoming ever more vulnerable. Universal Credit’s obtuse complexity and ill-thought through design works against those striving to make a success of their own, dragging on the economy at a time when we should be nurturing entrepreneurship to fire us into the future.
Then there are long-standing issues. Tax, in particular, continues to unfairly burden small firms. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP was right to describe the government’s U-turn on its pledge to abolish Class 2 National Insurance contributions as ‘yet another betrayal of the self-employed’. Tax reform will be a crucial litmus test for any future government professing a progressive agenda. Get it right and it can fuel economic growth from below.
The world of work is changing. And, as always, the small business and self-employed community are at the forefront of these developments. Matthew Taylor’s report into the ‘gig economy’ was a first step towards taking technology-driven change seriously. By no means is all self-employment precarious – most provides a rewarding career path. But more thinking is needed if we are to strike the careful balance between job security and freedom.
By covering these topics and more, we hope Tuesday 25th can spark a conversation that will continue over a glass or two at the subsequent reception. Register now for the chance to put your question to the panel or tweet us using #SmallBizQT.