Graham Watson MEP
Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar
A local champion with an international reputation
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News from the Lib Dems in Government
Published on Tuesday 17th January 2012
UKIP's deputy leader has been warned that publishing inaccurate information from the EU on starting up new businesses could discourage people from starting their own business.
The comments from Tina Sommer, the Federation of Small Business's chairman on the EU and International Affairs made the comments following the declaration by the UKIP MEP that EU law would require small businesses to hand over €25,000 in order to start trading.
Lib Dem MEP for the South West Sir Graham Watson was outraged by the statement, claiming that the regulations have been in place for over 30 years and only affect Publicly Traded Companies that trade on the stock exchange.
The FSB confirmed this interpretation. Tina Sommer commented, "It is clear that this directive only applies to PLCs and not to limited companies, which make up more than half of our members (57%).
"Nowadays it is hard enough for small businesses to start up and survive without knocking confidence further.
"Publishing the wrong information is severely discouraging small businesses, especially start-ups.
''While this deters the individual business, spreading false information could damage the recovery of our economy as a whole."
Sir Graham Watson said, ''UKIP should be careful before making such sweeping statements. Comments such as this shake confidence in Britain's economic recovery and risk new jobs being created. The job market is tough enough right now without UKIP using their obsession with hating the EU to make it even harder.''
UKIP's poor record on the economy was all too evident after leader Nigel Farage declared that 'not one single British job depends on EU membership' during a debate with Watson on the BBC's On the Record Europe programme in November. This is contrary to figures from the coalition government and leading businessmen including Sir Richard Branson and the Chairman of BT Sir Mike Rake who agree that 3 million jobs would be at risk if Britain was to leave the European Union.
Watson commented further, 'UKIP will say anything they can to grab a headline and muddy the waters. They should be ashamed of themselves for misleading the British public and damaging Britain's economic recovery. And they have the audacity to call themselves patriotic.'
Note to Editors
The FSB is the UK's leading business organisation with more than 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk
Full text of statement by Paul Nuttall (taken from his website on 16th Jan 2012)
SMALL BUSINESS THREAT
An "outrageous" move by the EU to force companies to hand over €25,000 before they can set up business has been criticised by local MEP Paul Nuttall.
"This proposal will have a devastating effect on the creation of small businesses, a sector which employs almost half the UK workforce.
"They are already over-regulated and small and medium businesses face enough financial problems, with the reluctance of banks to lend, without more totally unnecessary EU interference.
"It is an outrageous proposal and our government must block this when it reaches the Council of Ministers," said Mr Nuttall, UKIP Deputy Leader.
"We need to be stimulating new businesses, not stifling such enterprise. In this country 99.3% have between 0 and 49 employees and 37% of UK turnover is generated by small firms.
"Out of the 4.3 million businesses in Britain 2.72 million are sole proprietors. SME's employ 12 million people, which is 58% of the private sector workforce and turnover totals £2,400 billion – just over half the UK GDP.
"And more than 60% if all commercial innovations come from small businesses
"If I was not so used to EU madness and interference I would find this proposal, which follows a report authored by German MEP Klaus-Heiner Lehne, and passed by the European Parliament, unbelievable," said Mr Nuttall.