Beating the Tories on Business – How Labour Can Win the Battle for SME Hearts and Minds Again


Beating the Tories on Business – How Labour Can Win the Battle for SME Hearts and Minds Again

JOIN US on 21 November in House of Commons Committee Room 5, where our panel of speakers will talk about the challenges and opportunities facing the Labour Party as it seeks to beat the Tories on business and win back the SME hearts and minds that it won over last time it entered government. 

Jack Dromey MP will kindly host the event and Rehana Ameer will chair. Speaking on the panel will be Hamish Sandison, Emma Barnes and Simon Lydiard.

Labour has started to rebuild its pro-business reputation. Before the election, a survey of over 1,500 SME and start-up owners on the website put the Conservatives just four points ahead of Labour, despite being seen as “the party of business”. Labour is likely to have gained since then.

However, on the economy as a whole Labour still lags behind the Conservatives, with the commonly held opinion that Labour is anti-business and therefore bad for the wider economy. In recent polling, despite a generally very positive outlook for Labour and an overall lead of 4 points, the Tories still led by 35 to 23 on the economy. Many SME owners remain suspicious of Labour despite the party having developed some excellent polices that would benefit SMEs up and down the country, such as investment banks with regional arms.   

Nevertheless, with SMEs increasingly concerned about Brexit and the impact a bad deal (or even worse, a ‘no deal’ and a cliff-edge) would have on their fortunes, Labour has an opportunity to argue that its constructive negotiation stance would lead to a less hostile economic climate in which to do business. It has also started to change the debate around “invest to grow”.

Our speakers will discuss how Labour can beat the Tories on business issues and win the support of SMEs across the country. Please register below. 

Speaker bios

Hamish Sandison chairs Labour Business. He is a consultant with the international law firm Fieldfisher, specialising in IT law, intellectual property and public procurement. He is dual-qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales, and as a US attorney. Hamish has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Labour Business (formerly the Labour Finance and Industry Group) since 2013, and was elected as its Chairman in 2015. He stood as Labour’s candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Gwent in 2012, and as Labour’s Parliamentary candidate in Monmouth in 2010. Hamish has law degrees from Jesus College Cambridge and Berkeley Law School in California.

Emma Barnes is the founder of handmade jewellery brand Wild Fawn Jewellery. Emma set up Wild Fawn in January 2015 whilst working full time as a statistician in the Department of Education. 10 months later, Emma left the Department to work on Wild Fawn Jewellery full time and has been working on the brand for the last two years. Emma is a self-taught silversmith and works from home with hired help two days a week to make, pack and send orders. Wild Fawn is sold online on Etsy, the official Wild Fawn website and in over 40 eco-boutiques in the UK and Europe.

Simon Lydiard is a former senior civil servant, with a 38 year career spanning several government departments and specialisms. He joined the civil service at the most junior grade and worked his way up, attaining senior civil service rank eight years before he left. Having started as a general administrator, Simon worked in HR, finance and property, before specialising in procurement mid-way though his career. He developed and led the introduction of new approaches to procurement in the civil service, working on the introduction of category management and the application of electronic business and supply chain collaboration in the MoD and, as Director of Contract Management Excellence, over-hauling the Department for Transport’s (DfT) approach to managing commercial contracts through the introduction of new models, standards and training. A particular passion for Simon has been the support of small business – DfT’s spend with small businesses increased ten-fold whilst he was their Small Business Champion. He advised on procurement aspects of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. After he left the civil service, he led a review of small business procurement for the Crown Commercial Service. 

Rehana Ameer is the first Indian-born woman elected as a Councillor in the City of London Corporation’s 950 year history. She is a Councillor for Vintry Ward. She is also the first woman politician in the UK of Tamil Nadu origin. Rehana is the founder and Director of Prosap Corporation Limited in London. She possesses over 20 years in IT and Management Consulting where she has led, managed and successfully delivered large multi-million pound IT and business transformation projects for multinational companies worldwide.

November 21, 2017 at 7pm - 9pm
Committee Room 13, House of Commons

Will you come?