Support the real entrepreneur

25 May 2016

Support the real entrepreneur

Foto: SP

On 23rd May the SP organised a special day in Parliament dedicated to small businesses and their operators. During the meeting the chair of Dutch small business organisation MKB Nederland, Michaël van Straalen, was presented by SP leader Emile Roemer with a new report from the party, 100% Hart voor de Zaak. The report – whose title is a play on words: ‘hart voor de zaak’ is an expression meaning ‘fully committed’, but ‘zaak’ can also mean ‘business’ – sets out the line which the SP has been following for ten years and puts forward a large number of proposals for how the true entrepreneur can be supported. According to Van Straalen the SP is the only party to organise such events. In his view the report includes many excellent points.

In his speech Roemer underlined the importance of small and medium-sized businesses: “99% of all firms fall into the ‘small business’ category,” he noted. “60% of Dutch workers are employed in small or medium-sized companies. Such firms are thus indispensable and deserve extra support.” He went on to go further into the question of the need for a compulsory collective insurance for employers against the health and safety risks of their employees. He also talked about firms’ need for sources of finance and about the fight against crimes against retail outlets. Roemer also said that he was very pleased to see that the national parliamentary group and the European Parliament group had collaborated to produce the report.

Member of the national Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen, who in 2010 authored the first version of Hart voor de Zaak said that “since then other parties have been paying increasing attention to small and medium-sized firms. That’s great, but still insufficient. Take sick pay. It’s high time we shared the burden of employee sickness fairly. Illness for a worker is extremely unpleasant but can also have major consequences for the financial position of a small firm. If big companies made a proper contribution small firms could pay out less without the employee losing his or her rights.”

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong carries the fight for support for small businesses to Brussels, as he explained. “The European Commission often talks about the interests of smaller firms but the proposals they put forward are as a rule beneficial only to big corporations. It’s time that all new laws and rules coming out of the EU were tested for their effects on small and medium-sized firms.”

De Jong gives the example of the European Commission’s plan to ban countries from adopting a clear location policy for shops. “The SP wants to see lively town centres with a variety of shops,” he said. “So we have to work on getting an attractive mix of homes, service providers, cultural establishments, cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels. That means restricting massive shopping malls on the outskirts of cities. In that way our town centres will remain full of bustling streets where people want to come. The European Union should not be meddling in this.”

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