The Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union has joined forces with the Federation of Small Businesses to urge the next government to adopt a policy of investment in small firms. In its Strategy for UK Manufacturing document published yesterday, the union supports the federation policy of generating wealth through small businesses.
The policy marks the continuing evolution in union/employer relations from confrontation to social partnership. The union describes small companies as `the backbone of the British economy’, and takes the view that changes in the law on capital allowances, the uniform business rate and corporation tax should form a central part of manufacturing policy.
The union calls for the introduction of 100% first-year capital allowances on plant and machinery, limited to the first £25,000 of capital expenditure.
It wants a review of the uniform business rate, which it claims costs small businesses 10 times more in relative terms, than large businesses.
Finally, the union believes that corporation tax for small firms should be lowered to 20%, freeing up capital to invest in equipment and new technology.
The AEEU has also come out in favour of a multi-skilled labour market, recognising the changing face of the market.