Candidate for Windsor
Working Hard For You
Helping Money Service Businesses open bank accounts

Adam Afriyie (Conservative, Windsor): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps he has taken to encourage banks to offer their services to money service businesses.

Andrea Leadsom (Economic Secretary to the Treasury; Conservative): The UK Government is committed to supporting a healthy and legitimate remittance sector, and ensuring that UK citizens are able to continue to remit funds safely to family abroad. That is why, in response to the withdrawal of banking services from the Money Service Business sector we set up an Action Group on Cross Border Remittances to address this issue. The group is monitoring changes to the market, has developed guidance for MSBs and banks and is promoting a shared understanding of risk. The group is also overseeing the development of a Safer Corridor to ensure the continued, secure flow of remittances to Somalia.

Treasury Ministers have been engaging closely with the banking industry both through the British Bankers Association and directly with those banks involved in this issue, including personally writing to and phoning a number of banks.

 

Helping disabled entrepreneurs

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps the Government has taken to support disabled people in Windsor constituency who want to start their own business.

Matthew Hancock (Minister of State for Business and Enterprise): We are continuing to work hard to provide the right support to make life easier for everyone who wants to start their own business, including disabled people.

www.greatbusiness.gov.uk provides support and advice for anyone trying to grow a business as well as for entrepreneurs starting out. This includes a ‘Business Finance and Support Finder’ that can provide a customised source of government backed support and finance for business. In addition to on-line support, the Business Support Helpline (0300 456 3565) is available to provide a quick response on queries about starting a business, or a personalised and in-depth advice service for more complex needs. For those looking for start-up finance and advice there are Start-Up Loans: 10 loans worth a total of £47,500 have been drawn down in Windsor to date.

Finally, the New Enterprise Allowance helps people claiming certain out of work benefits to start up their own business. As of June 2014, 10,040 disabled people (from a total of 53,350) had started a new business with the help of the NEA.

 

Availability of business resources in public libraries

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent steps he has taken to provide more business resources in libraries.

Edward Vaizey (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of DCMS; Wantage, Conservative): The Enterprising Libraries programme, a £1.2 million partnership between Arts Council England, the British Library and the Department for Communities and Local Government, is supporting local economic growth by turning libraries into spaces for the development of business ideas, providing coaching, advice, meeting spaces and IT support for local businesses and entrepreneurs. Currently 16 public libraries in England are actively engaged in the programme and receiving financial support.

Other specific initiatives being delivered through public libraries includes the Access to Research service. This two year pilot commenced in January 2014 and provides a free service enabling local libraries to provide users with access to a wealth of research, including business information. In addition, library authorities are developing business resources to meet local needs. Staffordshire for example has introduced Start2, a service that is available in all public libraries across the county and has trained staff offering information and signposting on all aspects of looking for and finding work, including providing a starting point for entrepreneurs who want to start their own business and small enterprises looking to expand by signposting them to relevant sources of information or specialist organisations.

 

Parts of our political class are indulging the politics of envy. It’s time to value wealth creators

It is all too easy to confuse wealth creation with wealth itself.  As Conservatives we must be staunch defenders of wealth creation, although this does not mean we should automatically defend inherited privilege and unearned wealth.

Like many of my fellow Conservative colleagues, I am becoming increasingly alarmed at the level of anti-business rhetoric emanating not just from the media, but from too many other MPs.  In times of austerity we must be especially careful not to be drawn into the left-wing trap of lambasting successful business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs with the divisive and flawed politics of envy.

We all want to see the jobs created and incomes generated that will lift us out of the current economic mess.  The last government left our country on the brink of bankruptcy with the biggest debt and deficit in our peacetime history.  We cannot repair the damage by striking out at those people who are in a position to put things right.  The question is how to get those people with the money, and an appetite for risk and hard work, to invest their cash and effort into UK businesses.

The media narrative often underpins the politics of envy by suggesting that high rewards for entrepreneurs and profitable businesses are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.  But we must celebrate profits made in Britain.  The bigger the profits made, the louder the cheer should be.  These profits are invested to create new jobs, paid in taxes to subsidize the rest of society and returned as dividends to pensioners through their pension funds.

Financiers, bankers, private equity investors and hedge fund managers can supply the money-flows needed to revitalize UK businesses.  If they are encouraged to operate in an appropriately regulated and competitive market, these are the very people with the resources on hand to instantly boost investment and economic growth.  So it is doubly disappointing when some of our political class continue to fall prey to the same lazy narrative, which excuses government failure to set the right regulatory framework, and persists with the mantra that rewards for success are somehow morally questionable.

If we want to reduce income tax for low and middle income earners and provide decent public services for the least able, we must encourage business investment.  Small and medium sized businesses provide 59% of our private sector jobs.  They also pay 53% of business taxes.  We should be urging rewards for success and we must value those highly profitable businesses that are, self-evidently, doing things well. On the flip side, if we are to get value-for-money from our public services we must spend taxpayers’ money wisely.  We must be more than willing to employ the expertise of effective consultants, rather than stereotype them as a group of scoundrels on the make.

Underlying these negative attitudes to wealth creators is a dangerous tendency to “groupism”.  The public is often led to believe that all bankers are to blame for the financial crisis, although the vast majority played by the rules; profitable businesses are selfish, even though they create jobs and pay the taxes we need; and consultants are parasites, when they are employed in improving public services and saving taxpayers’ money.

As Conservatives we must call time on these divisive and self-defeating attitudes.  The 2012 Budget went some way to ensuring that Britain is open for business, but we must go further in openly welcoming the energy, determination and drive demonstrated by our private business culture, so that overseas investors will not be deterred.

I look forward to the day when we live in a Britain where our political leaders unashamedly welcome aspiration and applaud big profits and rewards for success.  Thriving and vibrant British businesses are the only way for us to emerge from our dire economic circumstances.  We must be unapologetic in saying so. It may be unfashionable to value the work of wealth creators, it is better than the alternative of mass unemployment and soaring taxes for low and middle income families.