Ukip has revealed that reducing business rates and red tape for retailers will form a crucial part of its pre-general election manifesto next month.
In an interview with Retail Express, the Ukip spokesperson for small businesses Margot Parker said she wants independent stores to be free of European Union red tape so they can be more successful. “I don’t want to see small business restricted,” she said. “I want them to have less regulation. I want them to be freer and more profitable businesses.”
The current MEP for the East Midlands is hoping to win the Corby seat at the general election and, if elected, wants to reduce business rates for independents. “I want to see them helped with lower costs, especially by local authorities,” she said.
Despite admitting that the party hasn’t “seriously discussed” retail crime yet, Parker revealed she will discuss the issue with their crime spokesperson, Dianne James, in their final meetings before the party’s manifesto launch in April.
But when asked exactly how the party plans to help small businesses, or how they will fund their policies, they are remaining tight-lipped. “You will get much more from us and you’ll get the real meat of the manifesto in April. That will nail a lot of the hard stuff for you.”
During their spring conference last month Parker enforced the importance of small businesses and said Ukip would like to see every council introduce a 30-minutes free parking policy in town centres – a contrast to the 10 minutes promised by Conservative minister Eric Pickles earlier this month.
She acknowledged the threat of multiples to the independent sector and despite describing herself as “not a lover of the supermarket” she justified their popularity. “People shop there for cost reasons, I do understand that,” she added.