“The Chancellor has today announced a series of measures that will give Britain’s businesses a real boost,” was the reaction of Anthea McIntyre MEP, Conservative Employment Spokesman in Europe, to George Osborne’s Budget Statement.
“I particularly welcome the Chancellor’s announcement that all employers will receive a £2,000 cut from the National Insurance Contributions from next April. Around 90% of this cut, which is equivalent to the employer’s NIC contributions on four full-time employees on the national minimum wage, will go to small businesses.
“This scheme is far more extensive than the relief I called for in last week’s BBC ‘Sunday Politics Show’ and is clear proof that George Osborne has achieved his ambition to deliver ‘a Budget for people who aspire to work hard and get on’. Another barrier to small and micro-businesses taking on more employees has been swept away and that can only be good news for future employment prospects.”
Other measures that Miss McIntyre saw as being especially helpful to Britain’s smaller businesses included the scrapping of the planned 3p fuel duty increase; the earlier introduction of the £10,000 income tax threshold; increased spending on infrastructure projects and the extension of the capital gains tax holiday for another year for the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).
“All the goods that we buy are brought to us by truck or van and scrapping the fuel duty increase that the last Government had planned helps provide businesses with some certainty on these costs for the coming year.”
“I know that Britain’s 4.5 million small businesses and leading organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) will welcome the Chancellor’s evident determination to do what he can to help them thrive and grow despite the horrendous economic mess that he inherited from the Labour Party just three years ago.”
The EU must offer more than warm words to address the deep concerns of small businesses over Brussels red tape, Conservative MEPs have cautioned.
The warning came as the EU Commission published a "top ten" list of EU regulations which cause the greatest problems for SMEs. The list was drawn from a Europe-wide consultation process begun in December last year - which several Conservative MEPs urged their local businesses to take part in.
Predictably, the list includes unwanted social legislation such as the Working Time Directive and labour-market regulation, as well as rules on data protection, public procurement and professional qualifications.
Anthea McIntyre, Conservative employment spokesman in the European Parliament, said: "Conservative MEPs who are constantly hearing the concerns of small businesses could have written this list for them before the consultation began.
"Now Commissioners have been sent a direct message and they must offer more than warm words in response.
"They have at least had the courage to go directly to SMEs and ask the tough questions about their concerns. Now they must show they can pay heed to the tough answers.
"They have been sent a cry for help. If they are serious about unleashing the economic power of entrepreneurs and smaller traders they must now work with them to reduce this regulatory burden.
"What small businesses really want is for the bureaucrats to get out of their way and let them get on with what they do best - driving enterprise, launching fresh ideas and creating jobs."
Mary Eliot Special School in Walsall is a special school for students aged 11-19 with severe and profound complex learning difficulties.
Local MEP, Anthea McIntyre, visited the school after accepting an invitation from Clive Ault, Vice-Chairman of the School Governors, to meet staff, school governors and the pupils and to see the state of the art premises which offer educational accommodation which is second to none.
“It was a real pleasure to meet the school’s inspirational headteacher, Liz Jordan, many members of the staff and, most importantly, the students.
“One aspect of the school that really stood out for me was the school lunches. Mary Eliot School have a proper, fully-functioning, kitchen that takes in fresh ingredients and turns them into absolutely wonderful meals.
“Not only does this allow the kitchen staff to produce really delicious meals of excellent quality that the students actually want to eat but it also allows the school to cope with often complex dietary requirements without waste – a truly remarkable achievement.
“It is obvious that Mary Eliot Special School is a very special place and I am so pleased to have been able to see it for myself.”
Local MEP Anthea McIntyre used her appearance on the BBC ‘Sunday Politics’ on Sunday, 17th March 2013 to welcome two major jobs-boosts for the West Midlands and to call on Chancellor George Osborne to take two specific actions to help the region’s small businesses.
“The region’s unemployment figure is stubbornly high and the statistics hide thousands of individuals desperate to take a job and make their lives better. But it is important that we recognise that employment in the region is at an all-time high with 107,000 more people in work today than 12 months ago.
“In the last few days we’ve heard that JLR will be recruiting another 700 workers for their engine plant on the i54 estate between Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire and that JCB, based in Rocester, Staffordshire, have won a £40million contract from the Brazilian Government.
“These most-welcome developments are mirrored day-by-day on a smaller scale by the region’s thousands of small and micro-businesses.
“I hope the Chancellor in his Budget will take two positive steps to encourage smaller businesses to expand their workforces.
“The first step is to make the current, temporary, Small Business Rate Relief scheme permanent. The current scheme is due to expire on 31st March 2014 and action now will help small business-owners plan for the future.
“Perhaps more importantly, I’d be delighted if the Chancellor would amend the National Insurance Contribution Holiday scheme so that it covers existing businesses with four or fewer employees rather than being restricted to start-up businesses only.
“It is existing small businesses who are most likely to create new, long-term jobs and modest help to them when they hire somebody who has been unemployed could have a huge impact.”
Leading UK furniture manufacturer Mereway Kitchens received a visit from Anthea McIntyre MEP this week. After winning the EEF Manufacturing Regional Award for People Management Anthea contacted Mereway to arrange to visit the company.
“During the visit Anthea made some very nice comments about Mereway” says Bob Norris who, alongside his brother Richard, is Joint Managing Director. “She particularly emphasised
the fact that it was very encouraging to see a British Manufacturer doing so well in the
current economic climate.”
Mereway owners Bob and Richard Norris briefed Anthea on Mereway’s history and growth since the company was founded in 1986, undertook a comprehensive tour of the factory and then introduced some of the employees involved with the projects for which they won the award.
Anthea represents the West Midlands – the manufacturing heart of the UK – and is the Conservative employment spokesman in the European Parliament.
The annual business awards are hosted by EEF, the UK manufacturers' organisation, and recognise excellence in enterprise, innovation, environmental performance and skills development among UK manufacturers. Mereway proudly beat a host of well-known companies including Jaguar, Land Rover and Rolls Royce to win this prestigious award.
Projects included focusing on production process, implementing lean business improvement techniques and improving factory layout to reduce waste. The company introduced a major training programme which improved employee morale and motivation, and targeted new market opportunities, implementing new branding to reach new audiences and create opportunities for growth.
“We were delighted to receive a visit from Anthea, ” Bob Norris commented, “it was good to be able to talk to an MEP who understands the problems of businesses like ours which often struggle with the amount of new legislation and red tape that comes out of Europe.”
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