5 ways Labour's SME policy will help small businesses

Are you the owner of a small business? We’ve got one simple message for you: we’ve got your back. 

Small businesses are at the heart of our economy, which is why our Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Policy puts them at the heart of our plan for COVID-19 economic recovery. With this policy, we’re continuing our support for small businesses with  access to finance, investment in digital technology and by reducing unnecessary costs: all things that New Zealand’s small businesses have been calling for. 

Here are the top five ways our SME policy will help small businesses recover, rebuild and succeed.

Expanding the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme.

Access to finance is one of the main challenges that small businesses face. Since introducing the Small Business Cashflow Scheme in May, we’ve continued to see strong demand from businesses, with hundreds of small enterprises still applying each week.

Under the scheme, small businesses who have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, and were eligible for the first Wage Subsidy, are eligible for a loan of up to $100,000. 

Now, we’re committing to extend the scheme for three years and the interest free period from one year to two years. We will also broaden the scheme to be used to invest in assets like new equipment, and, going forward, we’ll continue investigating more permanent finance options.

Regulating debit and credit card fees so retailers keep more of their sales. 

Did you know New Zealand retailers pay nearly twice as much as their Australian counterparts for debit and credit card services? 

Labour will regulate the cost of fees charged to retailers by their bank for debit and credit card transactions. This will reduce costs for retailers by an average of $13,000 per year.

In developing the regulations, Labour will take into account New Zealand’s largely fee-free EFTPOS system and the ongoing work towards open banking.

Growing businesses through digital technology.

Labour is helping small businesses take full advantage of digital technology, with a $75 million investment over two years in new digital training courses for SMEs with up to 20 staff. 

The new scheme will be targeted to businesses over the next two years, and will focus on those businesses being introduced to digital technology and working digitally. Training will include both general digital skills and training that is tailored to a particular industry.  

We’ll also establish a long term strategy to promote business uptake of digital technology.

Making it easier for small businesses to interact with Government.

New Zealand is consistently ranked as one of the easiest places in the world to do business. However, Labour knows there is more we can do to back small businesses in their work. 

We want to be a government that helps small businesses - not one ties them up with unnecessary rules and compliance costs. 

We will work with businesses to increase the ease of doing business with the state sector, including promoting the uptake of e-invoicing.

Continuing tackling issues facing small businesses.

Supporting small businesses is a key plank in our five-point plan for economic recovery. 

Labour has cushioned the blow of COVID-19 and supported small businesses to recover through schemes such as the Wage Subsidy, the Small Business Loan Scheme, and the tax loss carry-back scheme, among many others.

We’re committed to continue tackling the issues facing businesses, including those identified by the Small Business Council, in their Small Business Strategy

This includes measures such as setting a target for government departments to pay 95 per cent of domestic invoices in 10 business days, and facilitating access to finance through a new online tool on the site. 

We’re keeping up the momentum, supporting small businesses to get back on their feet and back to achieving great things. Now’s not the time to put on the brakes - let’s keep moving.

Want to show your support for small businesses? Back us to back businesses on Election Day with two ticks for Labour.

Want to know more about Labour’s policies? Head here to find all the information you need to cast your vote on 17 October.

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