Dear David Cameron, Ed Milliband, Nick Clegg and other party leaders,
In the run up to the next election the owners and shareholders of 10s of 1000’s of SMEs who have been systemically abused by banks are wondering who to vote for and if there is any point? Over the last few years it seems there has been little difference in how the major parties have pandered to the banks and Corporates at the expense of the millions of small businesses in Britain. And while the present Government insists the economy is growing, the situation of banks refusing to fund SMEs while continuing to close them down, steal their assets and knowingly defraud them, continues unabated.
Not only do the banks continue with their unethical conduct to SMEs, we can assure you the majority of business owners find the regulators to be at best ineffectual and at worst biased towards the big banks. In all honesty we have no idea which party, if any, would be prepared to change that unethical status quo and support British businesses.
The following statistics come from BIS (beginning of 2013)
There were an estimated 4.9 million businesses in the UK which employed 24.3 million people, and had a combined turnover of £3,300 billion
SMEs* accounted for 99.9 per cent of all private sector businesses in the UK, 59.3 per cent of private sector employment and 48.1 per cent of private sector turnover
SMEs employed 14.4 million people and had a combined turnover of £1,600 billion
Small businesses** alone accounted for 47 per cent of private sector employment and 33.1 per cent of turnover
Of all businesses, 62.6 per cent (3.7 million) were sole proprietorships, 28.5 per cent (1.4 million) were companies and 8.9 per cent (434,000) partnerships
There were 891,000 businesses operating in the construction sector – nearly a fifth of all businesses
In the financial and insurance sector, only 27.5 per cent of employment was in SMEs. However, in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector virtually all employment (95.4 per cent) was in SMEs
Only 22.5 per cent of private sector turnover was in the arts, entertainment and recreation activities, while 92.7 per cent was in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector
With 841,000 private sector business, London had more firms than any other region in the UK. The south east had the second largest number of businesses with 791,000. Together these regions account for almost a third of all firm
24.3 million people equals a lot of votes and that’s without taking into account the millions of individuals damaged by the so called ‘credit crunch’ when banks were given billions of pounds from the public coffers with no reference to the public. That is a statement of fact – not a political point and many of us see little difference in the conduct of the last Labour Government to the present coalition Government. The banks and bankers get richer while the society and the small businesses that are such an essential part of the economy are continually ignored or deliberately impoverished.
We would like to know if any of the political parties are genuinely intending to support SMEs in the next term of Government? We’d like to know if that support is included, or proposed to be included, in any manifesto? And we would like to know what guarantees will be given that any promises made in the run up to the election, will be upheld? In the previous election we were all led to believe miscreant bankers would be individually held to account and bankers would not be handsomely rewarded for causing the austerity most of us live with. It has not happened and, if anything, our banks feel empowered to act immorally and even criminally in the knowledge any penalty will be levied against the shareholders by fines from the regulators. It started with new Labour and this situation has been proliferated by the coalition.
We would be grateful if anyone can clarify what we should expect from the next Government and whether any party is intending to support SMEs. The situation for many SMEs in this Country is catastrophic. We want change – we want to know who is prepared to instigate that change – we want to know where our millions of votes should go.