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A statement by Ian Lang, president of the board of trade, highlighted an independent costing exercise, published to...
A statement by Ian Lang, president of the board of trade, highlighted an independent costing exercise, published today, by the Forum of Private Business which showed that a Labour government would cost small firms an average of£4,000 a year, while the return of a Conservative government would result in a gain of£333 a year.

He said:

'Business can't afford Labour. The Forum of Private Business has exposed and costed each of the hammer blows which would fall on small business under Labour.

-- The Social Chapter would cost small businesses over£1.6bn per year.

-- The minimum wage, even if set at a level of£3.50 an hour, way below the unions' preferred rate of (pounds)4.42 an hour, would cost small firms£1.75bn per annum.

-- The return of business rates to uncapped local authorities would cost small firms£100m per annum.

'Labour's policies for small business is to wreck small firms. They simply refuse to listen to what small firms have been saying to them: small business doesn't want burdens, taxes and regulations, whether from Walworth Road, the town hall, Westminster or Brussels.

'Small businesses will be big winners under the next Conservative government. The Forum of Private Business has confirmed that our rates allowance scheme, which reduces the burden of the uniform business rate on small firms, would save small business£500m a year.

'Conservatives listen to small business and deliver what they need. Labour engages in a charade of sympathy while proceeding to bleed small businesses dry.

'On Thursday, small businessmen, and the people whose jobs depend on them, have a clear choice: having to find an extra£4,000 every year to pay for Labour's new burdens, or gaining an extra£333 a year as a result of Conservative help for small firms. That is why the Conservative Party is the only party of small business and why small business will back the Conservatives on Thursday.'

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