We will push for a review of the Business Rates system, prioritising reforms that recognise the development of the digital economy, lessening the burden on smaller businesses, and ensuring high streets remain competitive.
Supporting entrepreneurs and small business
As well as the need for public infrastructure investment, the role of entrepreneurs and small businesses in delivering a thriving economy is fundamental. Liberal Democrats believe there is a vital need for access to finance for new businesses, and those wishing to scale up. Creating true competition means allowing new businesses to rise and challenge established companies. There are also many well-established small businesses and traders which form the backbone of local economies. Our priority in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses is to ensure that they have access to the funding they need, and in particular long-term (and patient) capital.
We will support growth in the creative industries, including video gaming, by continuing to support the Creative Industries Council and tailored industry-specific tax support, promoting creative skills, supporting modern and flexible patent, copyright and licensing rules, and addressing the barriers to finance faced by small creative businesses.
Lifelong opportunities to learn
We need to grow the country’s skills base, especially in the technologies and industries that are most important to Britain’s economic future. We want it to become the norm for businesses to take on and train up young people as apprentices in every sector of our economy, and for higher-level apprenticeships to be understood as a respected alternative to university education.
As our economy rapidly changes the need for people to retrain and reskill has never been more important. It is no longer the case that the skills learned at 18 or 21 will last throughout a career. The ability to learn new skills or change careers is also vital in creating the opportunity for people to succeed no matter their stage in life. That’s why Liberal Democrats support the need for lifelong learning.