What will the Labour leadership candidates do for the self-employed? Part two

Friday 28 August 2015

Now that the ballot papers have been sent out, many contractors will be asking themselves about what the prospective Labour leaders plan to do to support the self-employed, regardless of which party they support.

Open Democracy has put together a collection of the four candidate’s speeches and articles on how they want to support contractors and entrepreneurs across the country. This part of the series will focus on the views of Jeremy Corbyn and Yvette Cooper.

Jeremy Corbyn

The veteran Islington MP and left-wing activist Jeremy Corbyn has experienced an unexpected surge in support, and now appears to be a serious contender, despite barely scraping enough nominations to make the ballot.

He believes that: “The route to recovery for all cannot rely on the systemically reckless speculation of the City of London.”

In addition to this, he highlighted the role that “innovative and creative individuals” had to play in the economy, and stated that workers and government must share the process equally.

He has also called for greater fairness throughout the economy, particularly when it comes to taxes, adding that he wanted “reform of small business taxation to discourage avoidance and tackle tax evasion”.

Given the extent to which some larger companies are able to cut their tax bills, thanks to substantial resources small businesses and contractors cannot draw upon, changes along these lines could help to level the playing field between businesses of different sizes.

Yvette Cooper

Despite her role as shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper has often been regarded as playing second fiddle to her husband, former shadow chancellor Ed Balls. However, with the backing of former prime minister Gordon Brown she has been able to run a campaign as a centre-right candidate with strong New Labour credentials.

Ms Cooper has not made any speeches or written any articles that are primarily about her views on businesses, but some clues can be gleaned from her more general statements.
For instance, she has criticised the Conservatives, who she claims are “failing to deliver the balanced growth and high-paid jobs”.

She has also pledged to increase the amount investment in research and development to three per cent of gross domestic product, in a bid to match the sums committed by other countries.

A common theme throughout Ms Cooper’s campaign has been the importance of including parents in all aspects of the UK’s economic recovery, and given the number of contractors who have chosen their way of working to fit in with their family lives, this is also an area where she is likely to find agreement.

It’s uncertain precisely which of these candidates will be the next Labour leader, or even how long the winner will be able to hold the post. On top of this, there’s the small matter of a General Election that must be won before the successful candidate can even start implementing their policies. With so much at stake, contractors will want to carefully compare the views of each contender, along with the pledges of other party leaders, to see which way they want to vote when the time comes.

For information on Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham’s positions, please see our previous post on the subject.

By Victoria McDonnell

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