[Due to word limit I have had to split this into two parts so please see both]
Government treatment of UK SMEs (e.g. how it protects their rights as well as help them grow) & UK provision of adult education is utterly woeful, both (i.e. SME & adult education) have not only been neglected but past & present governments (i.e. Labour & Tory) have often taken an inadequate measures to reverse this because their approach has been obstructed by not adopting a holistic coherent/systematic approach as well as organised opposition from 'vested interests'.
To address this problem I propose:
1) That all SME business lending in the UK be regulated & protected by the FCA (i.e. Financial Conduct Authority).
Why is this important? Recently there has been a horrendous fraud case by RBS against countless UK SMEs (see GRG case where RBS deliberately pushed SMEs into failure in order to facilitate 'asset stripping' against them). And due to lack of regulation of 'business lending' practices & zero protection from the FCA many UK SMEs have been left high and dry with onerous bills due to unscrupulous business practices of the UK investment banking sector. So far, despite the constant pleading of parliamentary committees, this Tory government has refused (due to lobbying from UK-based investment banks?) to introduce regulation to SME business lending leaving many UK SMEs vulnerable to liabilities that they can not afford thereby introducing one more financial uncertainty to UK SMEs & contributing to further closures of SMEs on the UK high street. This is an issue a future Labour government must address as it's pushing an increasing number of SMEs out of business.
In case anyone is interested in reading up on this issue then I recommend they view this link:
2) Investigate the link between both the lack of legal protection offered to UK SMEs with regards to their relationship with the UK banks, in particular whether that relationship is unfair/asymmetrical (e.g. is it a one sided relationship that disadvantages UK SMEs), & the uncertainties that are contributing to the decline of SME presence on the UK high street (i.e. local economy).
3) Investigate whether 'adult education' in the UK (especially public sector 're-training' programmes?) can be improved by creating a 'adult technical education' programme that is modelled on both the German & Dutch technical education programme as well as investigate how such a 'adult technical education' can tie in with joint government & private sector funded 'adult trainee & apprenticeship' programmes.
4) Investigate the role a well-rounded/effective ''adult technical education' can play in implementing an effective industrial strategy, in particular preparing large areas of the north of England & the Midlands for coming '4th industrial revolutions' (e.g. industrial 3-D print manufacturing, biotech, electric vehicles etc) & establishing 'manufacturing/tech SME clusters' in those areas (i.e. north of England & the Midlands).
5) Investigate whether the low numeracy of adults in the UK will also adversely affect the UK's ability to fully exploit the economic advantages of the coming '4th Industrial Revolution' & whether this has the potential of accelerating, as well as entrenching, unemployment in the north of England & Midlands if not addressed adequately through coordinated programme delivered via Labour's future National Education Service.
[Please see part 2]