Conservatives must be the party of small business, former minister urges

A Conservative former cabinet minister has urged the Government to prioritise small businesses after the country’s recovery from Covid-19.

In a speech to the Sunderland Conservatives on Monday evening, Dr Liam Fox is expected to call on Boris Johnson to ensure the Conservative Party are “the champions of small business”, as these companies are “the lifeblood of the economy”.

The former secretary of state for international trade will also propose the introduction of a “small business test” in the next budget whereby every piece of legislation, regulation and taxation would be vetted as to its impact on companies prior to being enforced.

Making his virtual keynote speech on December 14, Dr Fox is expected to say: “I think we need to think about the post-Covid recovery and think, post-Brexit, what kind of economy we want to have, with or without a deal.

“I believe that stuffing the public sector with even more money is not the answer. This must be a private sector-led recovery but more explicitly a Small Business Recovery.”

The UK’s departure from the EU offers the country an “opportunity to re-shape our economy” and the Government must look at how it is supporting SMEs post-Brexit, Dr Fox will suggest.

Dr Liam Fox
Dr Liam Fox

He will add: “We must put at the centre of our thinking the role of our SMEs. It is key for our economy and it is key for the Conservative Party.

“Just as we were the party of ownership of property and shares in the 1980s, with council house sales as our flagship policy, now we must be the party of small business.”

The former UK nominee for Director-General of the World Trade Organisation is also expected to promote the introduction of a “small business test” which would look at every piece of legislation and ask “is what we are doing good for those small business people across all our country?”

Dr Fox will say: “I would like to know how everything we do is perceived by every small business in Britain. I would like every bit of legislation, every regulation and every bit of taxation to pass the entrepreneur test, the small business test. I would like to see the Chancellor build it into his next budget.”