General Election 2017 - Your Views: '˜We need an investment-led economy' says Leeds businessman

Chris Hill is a trustee with Kirkstall Valley Development Trust, a community driven project owned and run by its members. Its aim is to develop a learning and leisure park over 200 hidden acres of inner Leeds and to refurbish two heritage mills that lie at its heart.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 7th June 2017, 1:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th June 2017, 1:31 pm

Small business people are much like anyone else – they want a healthy economy, good services and not too much tax please.

They can get excited about rent and rates (landlords, like lawyers, always seem to be the last ones to lose money) and needless – or insane – bureaucracy.

But for the most part if you run a business you’re as capable of being as red or blue as the next person.

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Chris Hill

Except that isn’t the case. Entrepreneurs are thought of as slightly weird if they support Labour and it’s partly Labour’s fault.

It shouldn’t be surprising if a left-winger is passionate about private enterprise and people making their way in life by dedicating themselves to something, but it is.

Where the system fails us is at the corporate level not the level of private enterprise.

When profit maximization for institutional shareholders becomes the sole objective, money too often moves out of the productive economy.

Chris Hill

So let’s get the engine of the economy moving so that small businesses can thrive.

More investment through the utilities, more easily available local investment money for businesses to expand.

Long term plans that give people confidence. Let’s take advantage of historically low interest rates to make these investments. Small businesses haven’t got the money to start the investment cycle, but as soon as things start moving tens of thousands of them will invest their little bit and all the virtuous circles of local employment and wages will kick in. Only struggling businesses find the minimum wage difficult to pay.

The UK has a terrible record of investment and productivity stretching back over decades. Any government that will put money into boosting productive activity rather than letting it slide into the worlds of property and finance gets my vote.