Small Business — 8 Mar 2000

I beg to move,

That this House opposes the growing regulatory burdens that the Government has added to business costs; deplores the failure of the Government to understand the contribution that the small business sector makes to employment, growth and UK trade; calls on the Government to recognise the failure of the Better Regulation Task Force and the consequences of ill-thought-through legislation and regulations that have damaged small business; and condemns the Department of Trade and Industry for unco-ordinated policy initiatives and for diminishing the status of small business debate in the House of Commons.

Support for small businesses will have a major role in our plans for economic growth. We will cut unnecessary red tape.

From the situation as we saw it a year ago, where there seemed to be something of a policy vacuum on SMEs--

we have moved to one where there is some risk of an excess of loosely connected and apparently uncoordinated policy initiatives shooting off in all directions, generating noise and interest, but not commensurate light.

fulfils a commitment that the Government gave while in opposition, when we said that we would institute an annual parliamentary debate about the small business sector in the United Kingdom.--[ Official Report , 19 June 1998; Vol. 314, c. 606.]

From our perspective this has to be a downgrading of the importance of small firms. This debate should be in the House of Commons with the Prime Minister. It does not signal that the government is taking small firms seriously.

the parallel consultation on the Small Business Service announced today by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.--[ Official Report , 30 June 1999; Vol. 334, c. 345.]

What matters to business is the overall cost of government regulation. We therefore stand by our overall figure of £10 billion and, in particular, the costs of the Working Time Directive.

The Working Time Directive is by far the biggest cost facing business at £7.65 billion over the life of the Parliament. This includes the cost of minimum daily and weekly rest periods and a minimum paid annual leave, and the additional week's paid leave introduced from November 1999. This is of course the result of a European Directive but regardless of the source, business has to bear the cost.

However, I must stress that, contrary to reports--

BCC's figures do not include the cost of paying the minimum wage, which we do not treat as a regulation. If we were to add the recurring financial costs of paying the minimum wage, the total cost of red tape on business would increase to a massive £17 billion.

I have been in business now for 18 years and I have survived three recessions.

I have expanded my company from 4 employees to 33 in this decade, all without the aid of grants, which I have not been clever enough to exploit.

due to this government and their total nonchalance at our predicament and unforgivable lack of knowledge and understanding of what it is like to employ people.

The increasing burden on us is intolerable. Do you think they know about the constant cost reductions which we operate under? There is no spare money to keep jobs open to people, or to administer more and more of their responsibilities.

While everybody has to applaud the idea of higher standards for the provision of Care for the Elderly . . . it has to be understood that it can only be achieved at a higher cost.

The proposals exclude any choice for the Client or their families in deciding that maybe they prefer to pay less for their Care package and are happy with things as they are.

Government should not be able to suddenly change the regulations and send so many Private Businesses to the wall.

We are at present registered for 25 Residents and have 2 double rooms, to accommodate the physical changes required we would have to reduce to 19 Residents. It is unlikely that our running costs would then be covered by the fees we are currently able to charge.

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

welcomes the action taken by Her Majesty's Government to foster an environment in which small business can flourish, with macro-economic stability, a 10 per cent. starting rate of corporation tax, a research and development tax credit, regulation introduced in ways that minimise burdens on business, and the creation of the Small Business Service through which for the first time there will be at the heart of Government an institution dedicated to representing the interest of, and improving the services to, small firms; congratulates the ongoing work being undertaken by the Better Regulation Task Force, chaired by Lord Haskins, in spearheading the Government's campaigning for better regulation; and contrasts this with the boom and bust policies of the previous administration, which led to 15 per cent. interest rates, double digit inflation and the collapse of thousands of small firms.

We will not impose burdensome regulations upon business because we understand that successful businesses must keep costs down.

we have no intention of introducing any legislation that presents a burden on business and reduces the competitiveness of British firms.--[ Official Report , 25 November 1998; Vol. 321, c. 214.]

despite all its rhetoric, the reality is that government has dramatically increased the regulatory burdens that threaten small business competitiveness.

That this House opposes the growing regulatory burdens that the Government has added to business costs.

it has not been possible to undertake the usual consultation with industry on this occasion.

There is evidence that firms are facing extra costs from a range of increasing burdens, mainly in the form of employment regulation . . . There are also pressures on sectors, such as the construction industry tax scheme, regulation of care homes . . . and security companies.

It makes little difference to me. I will be long gone by the time the damage has been done by the idiotic Government.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 159, Noes 309.

Historical Hansard | Online Hansard |

Public Whip is run as a free not-for-profit free service. If you'd like to support us, please consider switching your electricity and/or gas to Bulb Energy who provide 100% renewable electricity and tend to be 20% cheaper than the 'Big Six'. They'll also pay any exit fees (up to £120) from your old supplier AND give you (and us) a £50 credit for joining up via our Bulb Referral Link.

Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 131 (+2 tell)083.1%
Independent0 1033.3%
Lab307 (+2 tell) 0074.3%
LDem0 26056.5%
PC2 0050.0%
UUP0 1010.0%
Total:309 159073.9%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

no rebellions

About the Project

The Public Whip is a not-for-profit, open source website created in 2003 by Francis Irving and Julian Todd and now run by Bairwell Ltd.

PublicWhip v2 codebase is currently under development - you can join the Slack group to find out more or email [email protected]

The Whip on the Web

Help keep PublicWhip alive