Since 2010, employment has reached record levels, unemployment has fallen faster than anybody predicted and stubborn problems like youth unemployment, which crept up relentlessly from 2004, are being turned around. Sound public finance has been essential to this, but it is businesses that have created jobs, not the government.
Saturday 6th December was Small Business Saturday - our chance to say thank you and to pledge our support to the small businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. These shops, garages, cafés, start-ups, sole traders and so many more put in long hours, take risks and give many of us our first jobs. It is not just the economy that depends on them, but our communities are built around the markets and high streets we all know; small local businesses strogly support our schools and community groups.
Cabinet minister Sajid Javid, himself the son of a small business owner, used a speech on Saturday to signal the Conservative Party's commitment to going further to support small suppliers in tackling over £40bn of late payments from larger customers. Conservative business minister Matthew Hancock has also pledged to use the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill to make sure that they have access to more public sector contracts, more export finance and better information about large companies' payment practices.
George Osborne's Autumn Statement gave welcome relief to many businesses: fuel duty will remain frozen; the government will speed up the increase in people's personal allowance, so taxpayers have more money in their pocket to spend as they see best and more money will be channelled into venture capital funds that back SMEs.
There is further to go. The Chancellor announced a review of business rates and, with internet giants not liable for the tax that our local shops pay on their premises, this antiquated system of tax must be overhauled.
58% of business leaders and owners in a recent survey backed the Conservatives over Labour on the economy. If you are as passionate about supporting small businesses as we are, support our campaign: www.thesmallbusinesscampaign.com