Green Party: 'We put people like you - entrepreneurs and artisans - first'

Green Party: 'We put people like you - entrepreneurs and artisans - first'


Rachel Collinson, spokesperson for energy and industrial strategy told IPSE: “The Green Party is proud to support self-employed people against the power of huge firms. You are key to helping this country through the coming Brexit turmoil. But it’s tough to compete against giant corporations - economics and current government policy is all stacked against you.

“For example, if you miss just one tax payment, the bailiffs from HMRC will be at your door. But if a giant global firm avoids paying tax at all, they’re invited to a plush hotel room to ‘negotiate’.

If people spend their money in a huge chain store, it’s quite likely to get sucked away to offshore tax havens. But if they spend it with you, you spend it locally. That makes life better for everybody.

“For all those reasons and more, the Green Party puts people like you - entrepreneurs and artisans - first. Whether you are selling home-made crafts in your spare time or you're working 18 hours a day and expanding rapidly, we know you are the key to our future as a nation. And that’s why our co-leader Caroline Lucas was an official Parliamentary Champion of the Federation of Small Businesses.

“The Green Party think that taxes on the self-employed should fall, while taxes should rise for those who can comfortably afford it. We were horrified at the chancellor's recent move to increase tax on the self-employed! Likewise we think that income tax should be lower for people who are struggling to get by, and more for people who are well off.

“We plan to phase out VAT and replace it with a tax on pollution. This means far fewer small businesses would have to deal with annoying tax forms. But in the meantime we'll reduce VAT on cooked food, live performance and accommodation to just 5%.

“As business spokesperson, my day job is running a small business. From my experience, covering your basic expenses during the lean times can be a real struggle, and when times are good, it's stressful getting everything done!

“To counter all this, the Green Party would bring in a pilot project of something called People's Venture Capital. This would replace the individual tax allowance, working tax credit, child tax credit, child benefit, tax credits, parental leave, statutory sick pay and universal credit (except housing and disability payments).

“Instead, you would get a monthly payment from the government direct into your bank account. No questions asked, no hoops to jump through, no strings attached. This is designed to cushion you against hard times, or give you a breather while you invest time in creating a new product or service.

“Getting paid on time is a huge problem. The government brought in the office of Small Business Commissioner to look at this. We'll be watching them like a hawk to make sure they sort this out. But we'll also guarantee that government departments and councils pay up within 30 days, as well as only buying from firms that pay up within 30 days. This should create a culture where bullying the self-employed and small firms is seen for what it is: selfish, and crippling to our economy.

“There are many other things I could talk about, like making it far easier for the self-employed to win government contracts, or getting access to super-fast broadband for everybody.

Rachel Collinson, Green Party's spokesperson for energy and industrial strategy

“However, I think the most important and final thing is the growth of firms like Uber or Deliveroo who pay per mini-contract. ‘It’s self-employment, Jim, but not as we know it!’ In reality, the worker takes all the risk and the giant company gets all the rewards.

“A Green Government would fix this by ending zero hours contracts, encourage people who work for these firms to unionise and penalise firms who refuse to allow their 'shadow staff' to work for others. They can't get all the cake and eat it too!

“You'd think from what you see on TV that there's only one pro-EU party. That's just fake news - the Green Party has campaigned relentlessly to keep us in the single market and retain freedom of movement. We will keep doing so. And we'll also give the nation a say on the terms of any deal; really handing control to the people.

“There's more you won't have seen about on the TV. We are the only party who has a leader with experience as an MEP. Caroline Lucas knows the EU inside and out because of her many years working in the European parliament. This would give us a massive advantage in negotiations, unlike Theresa May, who has no experience in the EU parliament at all.

“Unlike other parties, when it comes to business, self-employed people like you are our top priority. We know that without access to the single market, or the ability to travel to any EU country at short notice, you will not be able to make as much profit. Because of trade barriers and visa application processes, competing against firms in other EU countries will be far harder.

“Our current government doesn't understand small business - they're focused on their donors in huge corporations, while leaving us to the wayside. But the Green Party know that it's you who form the backbone of our economy. To rephrase something an employee of mine once said: ‘If the small firms ain't happy, ain't nobody happy’.”