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Damian Green is MP for Ashford, First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office.

This government backs small businesses, Labour wants to raise tax on small businesses.

That might sound too simple, but there is no other way to say it

Of course, Jeremy Corbyn will tell you otherwise. As he did when he told students he’d “deal with” their debts.

In fact, in April this year he told a conference of small businesses that Labour “will not raise the small business corporation tax rate.”

Yet fast forward a few weeks, and buried in the small print of Labour’s manifesto was a plan to reintroduce the small profit rate of corporation tax – payable by firms with profits below £300,000 – and raise the corporation tax rate on these businesses from 19 per cent to 21 per cent by 2020-21.

This would mean hiking taxes on over a million small businesses.

It would be snatching money from this country’s biggest success story – the flourishing small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) that employ 60 per cent of adults working in the private sector in the UK.

Successive Conservative governments have merged the small profit rate with the overall corporation tax rate, which has been cut from 28 per cent to 19 per cent – the lowest in the G20.

We’ve done this because we understand that businesses, especially SMEs, are the lifeblood of our economy, helping drive the unprecedented jobs boom that has seen record levels of employment in this country.

And it’s made a real difference. The economic data shows that, since the Conservative government started reducing corporation tax, the amount being collected by the Treasury has gone up by over £12 billion– far beyond what the Labour government was taking when the rate was nine per cent higher.

But we also understand that helping SMEs isn’t just about keeping corporation tax rates down.

We’ve also reduced business rates. At the 2016 Budget we announced a £8.9 billion package to lower business rates, benefitting all ratepayers. This package included permanently doubling and increasing the thresholds of Small Business Rate Relief. Under this Government, 600,000 small businesses will not pay business rates again.

We’ve introduced and increased the employment allowance from £2,000 to £3,000, helping small businesses take on more staff. And through the British Business Bank we’ve supported over 48,000 entrepreneurs through the Start-Up Loans programme.

Supporting businesses to start and grow will be a key part of our modern industrial strategy, which aims to put the country in a stronger position for the future, driving growth across the whole country. It will back Britain for the long term: creating the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future, and providing the conditions for successful businesses to become the household names that employ thousands of people across the country.

When we say we want to help small businesses, you won’t find any hidden nasties buried in the footnotes.

This government backs small businesses, Labour wants to raise tax on small businesses.

It really is that simple.

87 comments for: Damian Green: While we cut taxes on small businesses, Labour wants to raise them

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