THE GENERAL ELECTION
SMALL BUSINESSES: A POLICY FOR REVIVAL
A MONTH or so before the recent General Election, Andrew Brons, [Chairman of the National Front] was invited by the Forum of Private Business to outline the National Front's policy towards small businesses. On this page we reprint the article which Mr. Brons wrote for the Forum. This article has already been published by Stan Mendham (pictured below left, with Mr. Brons, right) and was circulated to all members of the Forum of Private Business.
However, Nationalism Today pleased to be able to reprint the article because we believe it to be an excellent statement of the NF's position as regards this particular area of policy.
THE National Front believes in the Institution of private property. We believe that a system in which the bulk of the working population enjoy ownership or part ownership in commercial, industrial and agricultural property will ensure:
(i) the freedom of the individual and family from oppression by state bureaucrats and monopoly combines;
(ii) a connection between the individual producer and the product of his or her labour;
(iii) an incentive for all workers and not merely for a relatively small number of state bosses or big business magnates;
(iv) an end to the Class War engaged in by Capitalist bosses and Socialist trade unionists and
(v) the sovereignty of the Nation from the interference by powerful sectional interests.
However, we do not make the mistake of believing that well-distributed private property is in any. way compatible with a laissez-faire, unregulated 'free enterprise' system, which has led to the elimination of small and medium-sized businesses in many areas of the economy and their replacement by large, impersonal (and in many cases multi-national) companies. Where the State has intervened, it has done so either to assist large companies or to extend nationalisation. There has been no systematic and sustained attempt to ensure the survival and success of small businesses or of substantial ownership by the workforce in larger businesses. We believe that the State must continually intervene in the economy in order to preserve and, where necessary, re-establish the institution of private property.
ECONOMIES OF SCALE
In those areas of the economy where economies of scale do not require large-scale production, small and medium-sized businesses must be sustained by a differential tax system which benefits small businesses and penalises the large combines. In the retail trade, for example, this might be effected by a differential turnover tax, which would be zero-rated at the smaller end of the industry and highly progressive when applied to the multiples and chain stores.
In those areas of the economy in which economies of scale require large-scale production, we advocate workers' co-operatives in which every member of the workforce would be a part-owner and would contribute to its capital replacement. As a transitional arrangement for those medium-sized firms wishing to expand, we would provide generous tax incentives to the employees to buy shares in the company.
Nationalised concerns would be retained in those areas of the economy where the national interest required that industries and companies should operate on other than commercial considerations.
A key to an understanding of our industrial policy is to be found in our policy towards the banking system. We reject entirely the present system under which the private banks are allowed to lend money in excess of the amount already deposited with them, at high interest rates, to the government and the business community. This has led to periodic bouts of inflation and depression and to public and private debt. We would nationalise the banking system and ensure that the quantity of money (in the form of cash and bank deposits) did not exceed the reasonably anticipated production of goods and services. Money created to meet growth in the economy would be spent into circulation as part of government expenditure and not lent into circulation at high interest rates by the private banking system. The system would enable loans to be made to industry - particularly to small businesses and workers' co-operatives ― at minimal interest rates.
Nationalisation of the banking system cannot be regarded as being in the same category as nationalisation of other areas of the economy. The banks, by lending money in excess of money already deposited with them, create a large part of the money supply and lend it at extortionate rates of interest. A government that does not have direct control of the money supply cannot govern effectively.
The only difference between Labour 'Kenyesians' and Tory 'Monetarists' is that the former believe that the banks should lend more at lower interest rates, whilst the latter believe that they should lend less at higher interest rates. Neither party (nor the 'Alliance') challenges the right of the bankers to control a large part of the money supply.
Our system alone would create a debt-free, inflation-free and steadily expanding economy, which would benefit the whole community, but small businesses in particular.
We alone amongst the parties are committed to unqualified withdrawal from the European Economic Community. Although we are primarily concerned with restoring national sovereignty, this would also remove the need for Value Added Tax which has caused endless problems for small businesses, as well as the senseless regulations, which are passed by the E.E.C. and take precedence over our own legislation.
We believe in a policy of Economic Nationalism and an end to foreign manufactured imports. The 'open door' policy towards foreign imports has destroyed large sections of industry, contributing to both the bankrupting of businessmen and the unemployment of the workforce. We would protect existing British industries from foreign competition and recreate those industries destroyed, with an emphasis on widespread ownership in the newly created industries.
The other parties have policies to win the votes of small businessmen. We believe in small businesses as a principle to which we are ideologically committed.