Businesses create the jobs and prosperity our country needs and they pay for the public services we all rely on. This is something my party has always understood.
It’s why as Business Minister, I’m determined to make it easier for people to do business. For me it’s personal. I grew up surrounded by my parents’ small IT business in Chester. Those early years were tough, but I could see how each new contract they won made the family finances more secure.
This is an experience I share with many, including the many British Chinese people who are involved in running a business. Like my parents, you know about the value of hard work and self-reliance. My message to you is the Conservatives are on your side.
Over the last five years we’ve backed you with lower taxes and less red tape. This includes cutting Corporation Tax and bringing in the Employment Allowance: £2000 off the cost of employer NICs for every business in the country. We have also been supporting small businesses on business rates. From October 2010 to April 2016 small business rate relief has been doubled, helping more than half a million small firms, with an estimated 385,000 small firms paying no rates at all.
At the same time our drive to tackle unnecessary bureaucracy has saved businesses £10 billion since 2010. This means we will be the first government in modern history to have actually reduced the burden of domestic regulation. Less tax and less regulation means you have more time and money to focus on growing your business.
We are also backing our young people to get the skills they need to get on in life, with a major drive on apprenticeships, which see people earning qualifications at the same time as doing real, paid work. Since 2010, almost 2,000 have been started by people of Chinese heritage, helping them to get a first foot on the career ladder.
Backing Britain’s job creators with lower taxes, less red tape and more skills is making a real difference. There are over three quarter of a million more businesses in Britain than in 2010. These firms have helped create over 2.3 million more private sector jobs, helping people across the country, including 10,000 people of Chinese heritage, into work. It’s not just about the numbers but about giving people the security that comes from a regular wage.
But all of this is at risk from Ed Miliband and a Labour Party that doesn’t like or understand business. They would make life harder for people trying to run their business, with higher taxes, more unnecessary regulation and economic uncertainty that comes from a weak leader with no plan for our economy. We would all pay the price.
So the election in just a few weeks’ time is a real choice: between David Cameron, a strong Prime Minister, who understands business and has a clear plan for our economy, or Ed Miliband a man without a plan, who sees business as part of the problem rather than the solution. It’s a clear choice between competence and chaos.
Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Portsmouth, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise and Minister of State for Energy