I note with regret, though not surprise, the saddening extent of damage inflicted by lockdowns, on Island firms.

Small businesses are the beating heart of our economy, accounting for a remarkable 99.9 per cent of all UK businesses and responsible for 16.8 million UK jobs.

Not only that, SMEs exemplify Conservativism, that private initiative, talent and, yes, the desire to make money, betters society. Without SMEs, our Island would be irrecoverably economically, socially and culturally poorer.

Yet the private sector, the largest funder of our public services, has borne the full force of the deepest recession for 300 years.

For all these reasons, and more, there can be no question of the moral obligation and the economic necessity of truly backing business. How are we, then, to go from rhetoric to action?

First, we need to radically review the amount of red tape on firms.

A regulatory bonfire is often derided as a race to the bottom, which is total hogwash.

Rather, it allows firms to better meet customer needs, produce more, employ more people — all of which benefits the ordinary person. If we are to continue to fund public services, removing the barriers on business is an unavoidable duty for the wealth to pay for it will come from nowhere else.

We must captivate the once in a lifetime chance of real regulatory reform presented by Brexit. Deregulation will be essential in the Island’s economic recovery.

Secondly, we need to reduce the financial burden on SMEs. It cannot be right that private sector firms, leaders of economic recovery, should fund gross over-expenditure.

Cuts and reforms to business taxation will require fiscal responsibility and considerable constraint: the laws of economic gravity cannot be suspended. We cannot allow insatiable demand for public services stifle job and wealth creation; the powerhouse of opportunity for all regardless of class, colour or greed.

The action required is immense, mandating great political will. Nevertheless, a full and lasting recovery depends on it. In our MP, we have a dedicated Island servant who has, and is, lobbying for Island business.

We all have a part to play, so let’s back Island business this Christmas and beyond.

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