Blair at work on small businesses

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Indy Politics
Tony Blair is to make a concerted effort to portray Labour as the party of small business in the run-up to a general election with a series of initiatives aimed at highlighting the Tories' failings, writes Fran Abrams.

At the launch of Labour's latest campaign yesterday, the party's small- business spokeswoman said the present government had created more regulations than it had abolished, tying up companies in red tape.

Labour has promised to double the loans made to small technology firms under a government guarantee scheme in association with the banks and to have an annual parliamentary debate on small business. It also says it will give small firms a stronger voice on the Deregulation Taskforce and provide an internet site which can be used for training.

Next month, the party will hold a forum with small-business men and women in London to discuss projects which might help to cut red tape.

In the next few months the shadow Chancellor Gordon Brown, shadow President of the Board of Trade Margaret Beckett and small-business spokeswoman Barbara Roche will take part in meetings and discussions throughout the country to highlight the campaign.