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Who’s Jonathan Reynolds, the New UK Enterprise Secretary?

Who’s Jonathan Reynolds, the New UK Enterprise Secretary? 

Lead picture creator: David Woolfall (

UK enterprise has a brand new chief. Jonathan Reynolds has been appointed secretary of state for Enterprise and Commerce by Prime Minister Keir Starmer. Reynolds, who might be Labour’s first enterprise sec since Ed Miliband, already faces an extended listing of calls for from enterprise house owners.

Reynolds has been the MP for Stalybridge and Hyde in Larger Manchester since 2010. He was appointed Shadow Secretary for Enterprise and Commerce in 2023, after beforehand holding shadow cupboard roles in vitality, transport, treasury, and work and pensions.

Regardless of being within the function for simply three days, Reynolds has already been pedalled out onto the political TV circuit, showing on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg yesterday. Under, we discover who Reynolds is, and what his first focus as the brand new enterprise chief might be.

Who’s Jonathan Reynolds?

Reynolds was born within the North East of England, close to Sunderland, in 1980. The son of a fireman, he describes himself as coming from a “loving working-class household.”

His roots could be Mackem, however Reynolds was apparently made at Manchester College, the place he gained a first-class diploma in Politics and Trendy Historical past.

After college, he took a job as parliamentary assistant to James Purnell, the then MP for Stalybridge and Hyde. On the similar time, he additionally turned a trainee solicitor.

When Purnell introduced he would resign in early 2010, Reynolds took up the mantle and have become elected as MP for the realm in 2010.

Since then, Reynolds has moved into numerous shadow cupboard positions, earlier than being appointed as shadow secretary for enterprise and commerce in September 2023.

Amongst his different pursuits, he says he likes to stroll his canine, watch Mad Males, and develop fruit and greens in his allotment. He’s additionally a religious Christian.

What is going to Reynolds do for small companies?

Final November, Reynolds unveiled Labour’s Plan for Small Enterprise in a speech on the Essex Chamber of Commerce in Basildon. Listed here are the insurance policies that he has stated his division will concentrate on delivering this 12 months:

1. Enterprise charges reform

One of many key factors that Labour campaigned on this 12 months was its pledge to reform enterprise charges to be able to revitalise the UK’s fledgling excessive avenue.

Enterprise charges have been a subject of rivalry for brick-and-mortar companies. Critics say they’re a property tax that impacts small companies already struggling to pay rising payments. In his speech, Reynolds stated the brand new system will “reward growth fairly than disincentivising it”.

Labour has additionally pledged to sort out anti-social behaviour, answering an increase within the variety of shoplifting offences, and unveil new powers for councils to take over empty retailers.

2. Upskilling

UK companies are being gripped by a abilities scarcity that has left many unable to rent for in-demand jobs similar to AI.

Talking on the Essex Chamber of Commerce, Reynolds stated Labour will flip present additional training faculties into “new technical excellence faculties” throughout the UK to make sure companies “have the coaching programs offered domestically to create the expertise pipeline you want.”

Every new school will supply programs that match the precise abilities required by native industries. Reynolds has not but confirmed what number of, or the place, the universities might be created.

3. Late funds

In autumn, the Digital Markets, Competitors and Customers Invoice (DMCC) invoice will give public our bodies larger powers to clamp down on exploitative buying and selling practices similar to drip pricing.

Reynolds voted in favour of the invoice when it was first proposed, considered one of many indicators that he plans to be heavy on huge enterprise regulation and transparency. That features late funds, a phenomenon that has contributed to many small enterprise money movement issues.

He has stated he’ll introduce “new laws to make sure all giant firms should report on their fee practices and display they’re immediate payers.”

4. Employment legislation reform

Employment legislation has at all times been an enormous space for Reynolds. He has beforehand supported a movement to stop mass sackings after P&O Ferries made 786 employees redundant earlier than changing them with individuals on decrease wages.

Labour will make main adjustments on this space. It has expressed plans to ban “fireplace and rehire” practices and exploitative zero-hours contracts, and introduce a day one proper to sick pay.

The get together has additionally recommended it’ll deliver the nationwide residing wage in-line with residing requirements. This can elevate issues from cash-strapped enterprise house owners, a few of whom have struggled to soak up the latest minimal wage rise into their staffing finances.

5. Migration

Final 12 months, the federal government raised the revenue threshold for abroad hires in a bid to curb authorized migration. The brand new legal guidelines have harm some hospitality companies struggling to fill hiring gaps.

Migration will probably be an enormous subject for Reynolds and the broader Labour get together to sort out, however plans have up to now been imprecise. Reynolds wrote in a weblog put up that “Labour’s detailed plan will scale back the reliance on abroad staff”, however precisely how this might be performed stays unclear.

Reynolds goals to construct again enterprise confidence

Throughout the Tory get together’s 14-year reign the UK went via ten enterprise secretaries, including to the turbulence that SME house owners skilled throughout COVID, Brexit, and two recessions.

Entrepreneurs might be hoping that Reynolds might be a extra secure determine for Starmer’s tenure, to assist them cope with the myriad of challenges confronted by immediately’s firms.

Will probably be new territory for Labour. Starmer’s get together has fought laborious to win the entrepreneur vote from the Tories, who’ve traditionally been considered because the get together of enterprise.

“Labour’s dedication to small enterprise isn’t pores and skin deep. It’s basic to the financial system we wish to construct,” stated Reynolds in his Basildon speech final 12 months.

His activity now’s to show that assertion by introducing truthful measures that may sq. Labour’s commerce unionist legacy with the expansion manifesto it has promised UK enterprise house owners.

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