Don Foster MP*


New statistics uncovered by the Liberal Democrats show that Labour has presided over a spectacular collapse of small business since 1997.

Main ImageIn the South West, the number of companies deregistering for VAT, which the Government use as a measure of how many businesses have closed, has jumped from 13,285 in 1997 to 15,290 in 2002, a massive 15% rise. In the same period new VAT registrations in the region have fallen by 7.6%.

The picture is similar across the whole of the country.

Commenting Don said:

“Anyone involved in running a small business already knows that Labour has done nothing to help them.

“These figures simply prove that Labour’s so-called vision to ‘make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business’ has become little more than a pipe dream.

“The Government’s answer of simply re-branding and re-structuring existing support schemes will not help small business to survive against the increased burden of red tape and taxation.

“The Liberal Democrats would set businesses free from Government bureaucracy. The Whitehall machine must be trimmed back and the savings re-distributed to help local businesses on the ground.”


Notes to Editors

• The Government publishes VAT registrations and de-registrations as the best official guide to the pattern of business start-ups and closures.

• The figures mentioned above come from Parliamentary Questions asked by the Liberal Democrat’s Small Business Spokesman, Brian Cotter MP. Extracts of the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry’s answer are shown below:

VAT registrations 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 % Fall
United Kingdom 187,690 187,515 181,370 184,035 174,620 175,800 6.3
South West 16,185 16,005 15,705 15,725 14,580 14,960 7.6

Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994-2002, Small Business Service

1 Mar 2024 : Column 635W
VAT de-registrations 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 % Rise
United Kingdom 151,900 153,450 160,410 165,475 167,185 176,040 15.9
South West 13,285 13,375 14,080 14,665 14,190 15,290 15.1

Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994-2002, Small Business Service

This article published: 20/04/2023

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank

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