The Labour Party has pledged to establish a "Small Business Administration" to ensure government contracts are “accessible” to SMEs.
In the party’s manifesto, launched today by leader Ed Miliband, Labour said the body would give SMEs a “voice at the heart of government” and it would “ensure procurement contracts are accessible and regulations are designed with small firms in mind”.
The manifesto also promises to “strengthen rules” on late payment, while government procurement will “promote the living wage, alongside wider social impact considerations”.
Labour will also ban “exploitative zero-hours contracts” and those “who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have a right to a regular contract”.
The party said it would implement its "zero-based review" of government spending, “which has already identified savings we will make through reforming old government bureaucracies, devolving power and services to our towns and cities and redesigning public services”. Areas covered by the review include local government and policing.
Elsewhere the manifesto pledges to put value for money and accountability “at the centre of defence procurement”. “We will work to secure defence jobs across the UK, protect the supply chain and support industry to grow Britain’s defence exports,” said Labour. “We will put accountability, value for money, interoperability and sustainability at the centre of defence procurement.”
Following controversy over supermarkets' treatment of suppliers, the party intends to "expand the role of the supermarket watchdog to support the growth of the sector, and protect food producers from unfair practices by the major supermarkets".
Labour has also promised to “cut the deficit every year and balance the books as soon as possible in the next parliament”.