Harlow Businesses Threatened Mar04

WITH small businesses in Harlow worried about their future profitability and with many banks having closed their local branches, a high powered Conservative Party delegation visited the town to investigate the difficulties facing small and medium sized enterprises.


At the invitation of Robert Halfon, the party's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Harlow, Bashir Khanbhai, MEP for Eastern Region, and Kaye Coleman, the Conservative Party Vice-Chairman for Business & Commerce, met the owners of a company selling car spares (Elook Ltd in Wych Elm, Harlow), an internationally famous firm of solicitors specialising in crime (TNT Solicitors) and an old established Insurance and Financial Services firm (Robert J. Mead on London Road).


They identified the following main concerns:-

  1. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are overburdened with UK/European legislation and the mountain of paperwork requires them to pay more for administration without any increase in income. Compliance of increasing amount of legislation severely disadvantages small businesses compared to supermarket chains and multinationals as the additional administrative cost for small companies is very high as a percentage of their sales and profits.

  2. Increasing burden of tax, including council tax and non-wage cost of employment to comply with the EU's Social Chapter, is eroding the profitability and competitiveness of small businesses.

  3. The UK Government, the EU, and the regulatory bodies neither consult nor respond to the needs of industry or business thereby squeezing the SMEs out of business in favour of large companies.


Mr Halfon said:

“Chancellor Gordon Brown must take immediate action to reduce the burden of red tape and taxation on SMEs. Towns like Harlow cannot see the disappearance of small businesses from our High Street. SMEs are the engine of growth in rural economies. They offer training for the young and employment for all on a full time or part time basis.


"If elected to Parliament, I shall help a Conservative Government give a big boost to small businesses and the self-employed. They must be encouraged to develop their full potential as entrepreneurs.”


Mr Khanbhai added:

“Robert is a fighter and he is determined to serve the people of Harlow. That is why he invited Kaye Coleman and myself to accompany him to assess the concerns of business people in Harlow. Businesses in Harlow need a strong spokesman in Westminster.”