"Comprising over 99% of private sector businesses in the UK, small and medium enterprises are the backbone of the economy. I'm delighted that the Labour Party has such a close relationship with SMEs through SME4Labour. It is no secret that the Labour Party is the only party committed to a fair deal for working people and so this relationship is essential when 60% of all private sector employment in the UK is in small businesses.Read more
26th September 2017 - SME4Labour, in partnership with LabourList, hosted an event at Labour Party Conference in Brighton entitled 'Labour's links with SMEs: building a pro business reputation'. SME4Labour co-chair Ibrahim Dogus was joined by Stephen Kinnock MP, Bill Esterson MP, Lola McEvoy of the Living Wage Foundation, and Labour Business chair Hamish Sandison.Read more
6th September 2017 – SME4Labour sponsored a successful networking reception at Cucina Restaurant hosted by Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.Read more
19th July 2017 - SME4Labour held a roundtable discussion in the House of Commons on the role of SMEs in the British economy after Brexit. The event was chaired by Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), and featured keynote speakers Stephen Kinnock MP (Aberavon) and Martin McTague, National Policy Director of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
18th May 2017 - SME4Labour co-chair Ibrahim Dogus took part in the General Election Small Business Debate, organised by Enterprise Nation. The debate was lively and Ibrahim enjoyed sharing his perspectives with the other participants and hearing the questions and concerns of the audience.Read more
25th April 2017 - SME4Labour supported an evening of great food - and even better conversation - with our special guest speaker the Rt Hon. Yvette Cooper MP and host Bill Esterson MP, Shadow Business Minister.Read more
21st March 2017 - A night of fun, food and entertainment to help Tracy Brabin raise funds for her Labour Campaigns. Attendees enjoyed a meal, entertainment from rising comedy acts, a political quiz and an auction.Read more
Martin Howe is a practising solicitor and the founding member of Howe + Co Law firm. He specialises in social justice cases and has actively worked on reform of UK human rights laws over the years. He was previously a member of the Conservative Party’s Commission to create a Bill of Rights, which has been named as “Balancing freedom and security – A modern British Bill of Rights” by David Cameron in 2006. He was an active supporter of replacing Human Rights Act with British Bill of Rights. He is the Chairman of the Courts and Sentencing Policy Group of the Centre for Social Justice.Read more
Carwyn Jones is the First Minister of Wales and the third Labour politician to lead the Welsh Government.Read more
Dawn Butler became member of the parliament in 2015 for Brent Central.Read more
John McDonnell has been the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer since 2015.Read more
Catherine McKinnell became member of the parliament in 2010 as MP for Newcastle North, where she was born and raised.Read more
Sharon Hodgson became a Member of the Parliament in 2005 for Gateshead East and Washington West, and is now MP for Washington and Sunderland West.Read more
Jess Phillips MP was born in Yardley, England and is the MP for Birmingham, Yardley.Read more
Toby Perkins has been the MP for Chesterfield since 2010 general election, gaining the seat from Liberal Democrat Paul Holmes.Read more
James Dowd was an MP from 1992 to 2017, first for Lewisham West and from 2010 to 2017 for Lewisham West and Penge.Read more
Rebecca Long-Bailey was elected MP for Salford and Eccles in the 2015 general election.
Nick Brown is has been the MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East since 1983.Read more
Seema Malhotra was first elected Labour and Co-Operative MP for Feltham and Heston in December 2011.Read more
Stephen Kinnock is the Labour Member of Parliament for Aberavon, having first been elected in 2015.Read more
Emily Thornberry has been the MP for Islington South and Finsbury since the 2005 general election.Read more
Yvette Cooper has been the MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 2010, having served as the MP for Pontefract and Castleford from 1997.Read more
Peter Hain was the MP for Neath between 1991 and 2015, and served in the Cabinets of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.Read more
“SMEs are absolutely vital to our local economy in Heywood and Middleton, and to the British economy as a whole. As we face the challenges and opportunities of Brexit, it is crucial they are given the support and certainty necessary to thrive. The work that SME4Labour does it very important in highlighting the significance of this and I am happy to give them my full support.”Read more
“SME4Labour has a crucial role in ensuring that Labour’s policies are informed by people with real experience in running and working in business. As a former SME owner myself, I have huge respect for those who are dedicating their time to SME4Labour, because they know that only under a Labour Government will small firms get the support to succeed and thrive.”
Toby Perkins MP - Member of Parliament for Chesterfield
"SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy. That’s true of Stroud as much as it is in the rest of the country. I work very closely with SMEs and I congratulate Labour’s initiative in this area."Read more
“I ran a small business and understand its challenges and rewards. As more people earn a living this way, it is essential Labour speaks to those people even more effectively.”Read more
“Small and medium enterprises provide 60% of private sector jobs in the UK and are a vital part of local communities up and down the country - they need the support of the Government to thrive.
“Labour is the party of SMEs. Given the changes the UK economy is about to go through, we must ensure they’re fully equipped and ready for the years ahead. Listening to groups like SME4Labour is now more important than ever."Read more
"Given the potential impact of Brexit on SMEs, it is vital Labour hears direct from them about their hopes and fears so that our policy responses reflect their needs. SME4Labour is the channel for this dialogue, and we look forward to working with them in the year ahead."Read more
Please consider taking our SME4Labour model motion to your CLP -
"This Constituency Labour Party believes that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the British economy. Last year, SMEs made up 99.3% of all private sector businesses in the United Kingdom, employing over 15.7 million people with an estimated combined annual turnover of £1.8 trillion, accounting for 47% of total private sector turnover.
"As a CLP, we recognise that the interests of SMEs and big business differ greatly, and we resolve to strengthen our relationship with local small, medium, micro and family owned businesses as well as the self-employed. We resolve to support constructive and informed discussion within our CLP on issues impacting on SMEs, and to work closely with trade unions and employers’ groups to encourage strong partnerships and collaboration."
"To assist us in our endeavours, this CLP resolves to establish an SME officer position, charged with building the aforementioned relationships and raising awareness of SME issues, and/or a local branch of SME4Labour to organise meetings, campaigns and outreach events."
Ibrahim Dogus, Co-Chairman of SME4Labour, commented on the reactions from small and medium businesses regarding the announcement of the General Election in June, 2017.
Listen to BBC Radio 5's 'Wake Up to Money' podcast here.
We are delighted to announce that nominations for the Second Labour Excellence Awards are now open. If you admire a Shadow Cabinet Member or think that your local Labour MP, Cllr, GLA, Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly Member is deserving of a prestigious Labour Excellence Award nominate them. Why not celebrate the work of a particular Labour Friends Group, Socialist Society or Trade Union by putting them forward?
You can do this by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org with the name, contact details and a reason why you think your nominee qualifies them for an award.Read more
10 March 2017
The increase to national insurance contributions in this year’s budget is yet another Tory assault on small businesses and entrepreneurs, writes Ibrahim Dogus
This week’s budget has proven to be the disaster for innovative, small businesses that many had feared. Once again, this government has demonstrated its complete disregard for small and medium sized enterprises and its corresponding enthusiasm for faceless, giant corporations. Under the new budget, business rates have increased dramatically, while the much-vaunted business rate relief has been miniscule. Moreover, the self-employed have been asked to contribute far more to the state coffers without any increase in protections or rights. Both measures are set to stifle the small, innovative businesses which drive our economy and keep our communities vibrant.Read more
27 February 2017
Philip Hammond’s devastating business rate hikes should put to bed the myth that the Tories are the party of small businesses, argues Ibrahim Dogus
The news of catastrophic business rate hikes should put to bed once and for all the myth that the Tory party is somehow a friend to small and medium enterprises. Small and medium-sized businesses across the country are facing closure thanks to rate hikes so extreme that they may no longer be able to turn a profit. Businesses in London are seeing a rise of 42 per cent on average, varying depending on area. Businesses in Southwold in Suffolk, at the most extreme end of the rate hikes, will be seeing an increase of 152 per cent this April.Read more
5 January 2017
Labour must defend small and medium-sized businesses from hikes in business rates, argues Ibrahim Dogus
Small businesses in London are to be further burdened with a new hike in business rates. This is going to be a massive blow to the capital’s small businesses, compounding the troubles they have faced since Brexit. It is small businesses which are the life blood of our communities and the drive that makes our city great. Once again, it is shockingly clear how little this government cares about small businesses and communities.Read more
Labour is the natural friend of small businesses but the uncertainty of Brexit demands the country do more for SMEs
Ibrahim Dogus is Chair of SME4Labour
6 March 2017
Labour has in the past been tacitly and even directly accused of being inherently anti-business. The party has been accused of being out of touch with the communities of modern Britain. Both suggestions are patently false. But these suggestions are sadly widespread. And they were, I believe, partly what prompted people’s surprised reactions when we founded SME for Labour. These perceptions are something the Labour Party can and should work against – and there is no better time than this week with the Budget due on Wednesday.
On the evening of Monday the 23rd of January, SME4Labour hosted a dinner for members of the Labour Party at the House of Commons in partnership with the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE).
Leading Executive SME4Labour members Ibrahim Dogus and Sonny Leong attended the event along with the principal directors of IPSE including the Simon McVicker, the Director of Policy and Public Affairs. The event was hosted by Nick Brown MP with the aim of giving leading Labour MPs an opportunity to engage with small businesses, enterprises, the self-employed and independent professionals by identifying the Labour Party’s priorities and policies for the Small Business Sector.
SME4labour organised a roundtable meeting involving MPs Chuka Umunna and Bill Esterson, attended by an audience of small and medium business owners. It was hosted in Committee Room 19 at the House of Commons and kindly chaired by Ibrahim Dogus.
Chuka Umunna opened by firmly restating Labour’s commitment to being the party of small business, demonstrated under the last leadership. Chuka brought up his own family connection to the cause, his father having run a market stall, and related several times to the experiences of business owners on Streatham High Road in his constituency. Chuka made a three-point analysis of Labour’s relationship with SMEs. The first was that Labour, being the party of the working labour, had to be back ‘full-throttle’ the business that provide the majority of private sector work in the country. Secondly, SMEs provide high streets and communities with their unique character, so support for them is a fundamental part of Labour’s communitarian values. Finally, he pointed out that setting up a business is an act of challenging the market establishment - and Labour is very much about challenging the establishment!Read more
"The majority of workers in the UK are employed in small and medium sized enterprises. It is therefore very heartening that so many are signing up to the values of the Labour Party, encompassing as they do the issues of employment rights and fairness in the workplace. Our country needs successful businesses and with the right regulatory framework from a Labour Government and the right values in business we can all be successful together."
"Today people are aware that businesses can be greedy and selfish – particularly big ones but there is a growing appetite for ‘Social Enterprises’ as opposed to ‘for-profit businesses’. In my view – in particular with SMEs – there should be no difference a great business – that makes a profit to grow itself and reward those who created it and work in it should be a ‘social enterprise’ i.e. society should benefit inclusively. Its customers, staff, suppliers, shareholders, the community and the ecology should share in its success. If that were so, it is certain to grow…"
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SME4Labour was delighted to host its first annual gala on Monday 19 December. SME4Labour is a friends group of the Labour Party that works to strengthen the relationship between the party and small businesses, which are the backbone of the British economy and local communities. The event was attended by over 400 guests including over two dozen MPs and a number of Labour’s other elected politicians and peers. The gala, which took place at the Park Lane Sheraton Hotel in Piccadilly, also saw the launch of the first ever Labour Excellence Awards.Read more
Stephen Timms hosted a roundtable discussion on how the Labour Party can create and win the support of the next generation of entrepreneurs.The event was chaired by Martin Howe of the Executive Committee for SME 4 Labour with keynote speakers Stephen Timms MP for East Ham and Bill Esterson MP for Sefton Central at Portcullis House.
Stephen Timms MP began by applauding the work of SME 4 Labour. He stated that the current govt setup doesn’t seem to support SMEs in the way that it should, and that is a political opportunity for Labour. He argued that the tax system needs to reflect more and more the needs of people who set up businesses for themselves and that this was an agenda Labour needs to get right.
He said that because of Brexit the whole economy faces great uncertainty and that no one knows where we’ll be in a few years’ time. He added that the Brexit select committee paid its first visit to the Department for Exiting Europe today but that there is no sign of anyone in the department or the government with a plan, and expressed support for the High Court ruling because it gives parliament a say in where Brexit goes.
He added that Research commissioned by the Federation of Small Businesses showed that in an 18-month period, 80% of people who have made the move out of this period have done so as a result of getting a job in a small business. He continued, explaining that Shoreditch and other areas present an interesting area of how small businesses have been created and this trend is expanding geographically through London.
He explained that the government has a target of 3m apprenticeship starts between 2015-2020. He said that this seems to be their only target – there’s no specification on their quality, how they contribute to the economy, and expressed worry that the government will do whatever it takes to get 3m, regardless of whether or not these apprenticeships are things that businesses need.
He added that there have been 2.4m apprenticeships in the previous 5 years – so it’s an achievable increase but there are still unclear objectives with where they are going.
In addition he explained that there is a new apprenticeship levy due from next April for companies with a pay bill higher than £3m a year, the government will contribute 0.5% of their paybill towards the cost of apprenticeships, estimated to raise £2.1b a year on apprenticeships and that this is very controversial amongst businesses who will be targeted. He added that the Confederation of British Industry is protesting it and says it may actually reduce apprenticeships.
Bill Esterson MP agreed that SMEs provide opportunities for criticism of government policy, and argued that on the topic of Brexit, business confidence is essential for success.
He said that the loss of long-term foreign investment into the country will cause increasing problems over time and added that the result with Nissan is vaunted, but that it is a success with one company in one part of the country and definitely is not a plan.
He argued that the target of 3m apprenticeships is dangerous and that a rush will mean that there will be a loss of quality. He also stated that projections suggest there will be a deficit of 0.5m jobs in intermediate and advanced-skilled areas including the construction sector.
He added that he would like to see something similar to the American model, and explained that in the US they have the Small Business Administration – which is ‘a driver to the success of the economy as a whole’ as it supports advice and mentoring with an extensive network of retired entrepreneurs which is broadly superior to what is offered through the New Enterprise Allowance. He explained that they have an approach to bringing clusters together across the country with all sorts of industries and sectors like Silicon Valley.
He explained that they particularly invest in supporting business startups in more deprived communities and encouraging women as entrepreneurs. He explained that Germany, Switzerland and America are all very strong on this whereas Britain is extremely lacking in supporting apprenticeships and has nothing like this at present and that moves towards this had been advocated in Labour’s 2015 manifesto.
Bill also expressed support for the creation of a Department of International Trade but added that the focus of policy, rather than corporation tax wrangling which only benefits the small clique of large businesses, needs instead to focus on small businesses in growing sectors such as a digital and similar sectors. He also argued that Labour needs to resist Liam Fox’s desire for a low-skilled, low-paid economy in “a race to the bottom”.
SME4labour organised a meeting in Islington between SME owners and Emily Thornberry MP. There were SME owners from various backgrounds who raised their concerns and other issues while also advocating for the Labour Party to become the natural home of small businesses, and that it should do more to engage with them. The key issues raised were lending to small business, immigration issues for the workforce, high rents, and business rates.
The most recent event held by SME 4 Labour was a fundraising dinner in support of Sadiq Khan, Labour candidate for London Mayor. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in a raffle and auction which included some excellent prizes.
The Mayoral elections could not have come at a more crucial time for businesses as the economy is suffering from uncertainty and international pressures. With London being such a cosmopolitan city, it was vital that a Mayor, who vows to ease the challenges faced by businesses (including growing competition), was elected. Rightly so, Sadiq Khan won the elections and has taken office in City Hall to fulfil the promises in his manifesto. We, at SME 4 Labour, look forward to a successful tenure making a better, fairer, more business friendly London.
November 2015 saw the first networking reception for SME 4 Labour which led to the widely anticipated official launch in Parliament the following January. Hosted by Bill Esterson MP (and Shadow Minister for small businesses), the event was well attended by 50 MPs and Councillors. with the queue reaching over 400 individuals. SMEs make up 50% of the national economy with a majority of them being Labour-leaning which only reinforces the need for SME 4 Labour.
The event started with an opening speech from the Co-founder of SME 4 Labour, Ibrahim Dogus, who highlighted what the group stands for. This was reinforced with a speech from the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn where he stated “the formation of this group, within the labour party, is a very important step forward” and that SMEs “need to have equal access to all the benefits of the welfare state and business system. Angela Eagle MP, expressed that a healthy relationship between the Labour Party and SMEs is essential because they “craft our policies so that we can build a prosperous economy for the 21st Century”.
SME 4 Labour along with Stephen Kinnock MP held a discussion with Rt Hon Lord Hain about life in British politics and the success of Lord Hain’s book Back to the Future of Socialism. The book highlights what the future holds for the Labour Party and its members – putting forward a profound alternative to the neo-liberal economic agenda. Lord Hain is best-known for being a prominent activist in the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa during the 1970s and for his later role in the Northern Ireland peace process. Having served the Labour Party for 50 years and been a cabinet member under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, ord Hain is a true advocate for carrying through the policies brought in by the Labour Party.
September 2015 saw the start of SME 4 Labour with the organisation’s hosting Yvette Cooper’s final phase of her Labour leadership campaign. MPs, volunteers and business owning non-party members gathered in North London for a fundraising dinner to show their support. The fundraising dinner enabled Yvette to speak out on pressing matters, such as the refugee crisis where she criticised the then Prime Minister David Cameron for his lack of action on taking a ‘fair share’ of refugees. Yvette Cooper held a strong campaign and the attendees of the event clearly proved this as the audience consisted of 800 individuals. However, she was faced with tougher competition and ultimately lost out to Jeremy Corbyn after a three-month-long leadership race.
SME4Labour has actively engaged with CLP’s and groups supporting the Labour cause throughout the year. As part of our work to support our friends from across the country, we have supported a fundraising dinner with Carwyn Jones. Tim Roache of GMB and many other colleagues were also present at the dinner.
“The dynamism of small and medium sized businesses is critical to the success of the UK economy. Representing over 99% of UK businesses, they provide 60% of private sector jobs and account for almost 50% of all private sector turnover.
"There are 5 million businesses who employ fewer than 10 people in this country. these are the backbone of our country and at the heart of our economy and community and we want them them to do well. The work of SME 4 Labour means that these small business owners know that we are on their side in the fight for fairness and decent opportunity."
“SMEs are vital to our economy, making up 99.2% of all private sector businesses in the U.K. and employing 14.4 million people. With such a large portion of the population being connected to SMEs, it is essential that the needs of SMEs are met in Parliament.Read more
“The UK’s small business are the backbone of the economy and the beating heart of our communities. SME 4 Labour provides a vital forum through which Labour can work in partnership with SMEs, trade unions and workers to build effective policy and stronger relationships with the business community.”Read more
“99% of the businesses in our country are small and medium-sized enterprises. Our economy depends on the success of these businesses. It is incredibly important that Labour, the party of work, has a strong relationship with small business and the work of SME 4 Labour is vital to foster and strengthen those relationships.”Read more
“Small and Medium Enterprises are critically important for the strength and development of the British economy, and I am delighted to give my support to SME 4 Labour as a crucial bridge between business communities and the Labour Party. SMEs provide a great deal of employment and are at the forefront of business innovation.Read more