Anneliese Dodds MP

  • "The economic recovery will require us to be ambitious about our country’s future – and ambitious for our SMEs"

Commentary by Anneliese Dodds MP,
Shadow Chancellor of The Exchequer

This year’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report tells a fascinating story about the ability of British businesses to thrive in the face of an uncertain economic environment.

The economic and social value of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is significant. They are the cornerstone of local economies across the UK, often with innovation and community focus at their heart. They are catalysts for regional economic growth and represent over 99% of all UK private sector businesses by number. Their continued success is crucial to our country’s future prosperity.

Starting and then running a small business, and supporting its growth, can be a challenge at the best of times. Current circumstances have made these tasks even harder. For many business people, the current period has been the hardest they have ever faced.

I applaud the resilience of UK SMEs who have been rising to recent challenges, by adapting how they deliver their services to their customers, whilst maintaining support for their employees and for local communities. That support must now be matched with provisions to ensure that SMEs’ economic capacity is maintained, wherever possible.

The economic recovery will require us to be ambitious about our country’s future – and ambitious for our SMEs. Only by placing jobs and sustainability at the heart of our national strategy will we ensure that our economy builds back to be better and more resilient than it was before. That will require a strategy for getting Britain on track to deliver our net-zero commitments and support the creation of new, green jobs across the UK, driving forward renewable energy, and helping all sectors to play an active role in the transition.

The recovery must also involve an intense focus on promoting productivity across every sector of our economy, and every region. Shortages in skills and investment which already posed problems for the UK’s economy are even more critical now.

As this report shows, SMEs across the country are well placed to play an active, agile role in this recovery and renewal – grasping and delivering the technologies of the future, training and reskilling our workforce and revitalising local economies and communities.