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Miliband to cast Labour as 'party of small businesses'
ED Miliband will tomorrow (Tuesday, September 24) make an audacious pitch to recast Labour as “the party of small business” – when he promises 1.5 million firms a tax cut.
The Labour leader will use his showpiece conference speech to announce plans to axe a hike in business rates earmarked for 2015 and to freeze rates in 2016.
Mr Miliband will say the move will be worth nearly £450 to the average small business, with some companies saving up to £2,000 over two years.
And it will underline Labour’s determination to ensure the “recovery is made by the many”, not just by a smaller number of big firms, in line for further cuts in corporation tax.
The help on business rates will be funded by scrapping the 1p corporation tax reduction planned by George Osborne for 2015 – which will cost £1.1bn, over two years.
Mr Miliband will say: “Most of the jobs of the future are going to be created in a large number of small businesses – not a small number of large businesses.
“And most of the new jobs that British people will be doing in 15 years’ time will be in new companies.
“That’s why we have to support our small businesses, the vibrant, dynamic businesses that will create wealth for Britain.”
Mr Miliband will accuse the Chancellor of focusing help on big business, with £6bn of corporation tax cuts since 2010, adding: “One Nation Labour – the party of small business.”
The speech will focus on what the Labour leader calls the “cost of living crisis for ordinary British families”, despite the recent economic upturn.
He will urge voters to use the 2015 general election to ask themselves: ‘Am I better off now than I was five years ago?’ And he will add: “You’ve made the sacrifices, but you’ve not got the rewards. You were the first one into recession – but you are the last one out.
“Will the pain be worth it for gain under this Government? No – they aren’t going to solve the cost of living crisis.”
Mr Miliband will vow to build a new generation of new towns, to “tackle the housing crisis”, to ease the transition from school to work and help to build a “world-leading green economy”.
However, the speech is not expected to make further specific “cost of living” pledges, after a week in which Labour has promised help on the minimum wage, rail fares, energy prices and childcare.
Mr Miliband will warn the link between a growing economy and rising living standards has been broken – because too many jobs are low paid, while gains are “scooped up by a privileged few”.
And he will say: “They used to say a rising tide lifts all boats. Now the rising tide just seems to lift the yachts.”
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