Getting through the political minefield!

As a small business owner, you’ll know that government economic policy plays a major role in many aspects of your day to day business operations. From human resource matters to taxation and import/export terms of trade, keeping abreast of legislation is hard enough, without the added pressure of making a decision about which party represents the best opportunity for your business on 7th May.

To help out just a bit we have investigated the five main parties, summarising their business policies in a nutshell. Please note that all of this information has been taken from each of the parties’ own websites – they are Party views, not ours!

So, just what are their business manifestos?

Conservative:

By backing small businesses and enterprise, we have helped create 1.9 million new jobs – that’s more people taking home a pay packet each month and being able to provide for their families.

We are on the side of small businesses and are helping them, however we can:

  • Cut the jobs tax saving businesses up to £2,000 and enabling them to provide more jobs for hardworking people.
  • Scrap the jobs tax altogether for under 21’s so it’s easier for businesses to give young people a start in life.
  • Invest in better infrastructure, including roads, rail and broadband, so it’s easier to reach customers.
  • Cut corporation tax helping companies invest and grow.
  • Get rid of unnecessary red tape freeing up businesses to concentrate on expansion.

For more, visit https://www.conservatives.com/Plan/CreateMoreJobs.aspx 

Labour:

British businesses, both large and small, are vital to the future success of our country. But we know that in today’s tough economic climate many face significant challenges as they seek to expand and develop.

One Nation Labour is determined to recognise and support enterprise so we can modernise and reform our economy to create the jobs and growth the UK needs. And we want to hear from business about how we can best achieve this.

Labour’s plan builds on the feedback that the business community have given us over the past four and a half years – setting out how the next Labour Government will chart a path to higher productivity in all parts of the economy as the basis of renewed and inclusive prosperity. Central to Labour’s plan is an understanding that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed.

Specifically, Labour’s plan will:

  • Recognise that Britain’s world class firms, in sectors which enjoy established comparative advantage, need to be able to take long-term decisions and access key markets, not simply ever lower taxes.
  • Prioritise doing everything we can to ensure more smaller businesses reach their potential to power future growth.
  • Develop a new industrial strategy that focuses not just on high-tech firms, but also on supporting our big employing sectors such as retail and social care to win a race to the top and not get dragged into a race to the bottom.
  • Ensure the public sector plays an active part in driving up productivity across the whole economy, supporting firms through cutting-edge innovation and research, strategic investment and procurement.

Taken together, Labour’s plan will deliver the sustainable growth and rising living standards that our country needs and ensure our economy works for all working people.

For more, visit http://www.labour.org.uk/pages/business-relations 

Liberal Democrats:

Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy. We have taken the tough decisions to clean up Labour’s mess, and thanks to these choices, we are now beginning to see the economy recover and growing confidence. But we are making sure the recovery is fair too. That’s why we have prioritised creating jobs and apprenticeships. We have:

  • Helped businesses create over 1 million new jobs and are working to create a million more.
  • Created a record number of apprentices, with over 2 million people starting an apprenticeship since 2010.
  • Invested in key manufacturing, so we can build a new hi-tech economy.

The Labour party can’t be trusted on the economy. They borrowed and borrowed and nearly bankrupted Britain. Now they have no answers on how to fix the mess they created.

The economy wouldn’t be growing again without the Lib Dems in Government. We are cleaning up the mess that Labour left and reducing the deficit. But Lib Dems have also made sure we are putting more investment into manufacturing and building projects: 1 million jobs / 1.8 million apprenticeships / £9.4bn rail / £3bn green investment / £5.5bn science and manufacturing / £3.2bn growing businesses.

For more, visit http://www.libdems.org.uk/jobs_and_growth

UKIP:

We want to make it much easier for start-ups and smaller businesses to secure financing. Offering easy access to business angels, Business Credit Unions, and promoting new financial options such as peer-to-peer lending and crowd-funding are part of the answer, but we’ll also press for a reform of the retail banking sector and require all banks, and especially those that were bailed out with public money, to simplify the lending process for smaller businesses and invest more in start-ups and small business expansion.

Repairing the UK Economy:

  • UKIP will increase personal allowance to the level of full-time minimum wage earnings (approx £13,500 by next election).
  • Inheritance tax will be abolished.
  • We will introduce a 35p income tax rate between £42,285 and £55,000, whereupon the 40p rate becomes payable.
  • UKIP will set up a Treasury Commission to design a turnover tax to ensure big businesses pay a minimum floor rate of tax as a proportion of their UK turnover.

Policies for Employment and Small Businesses:

  • Businesses should be able to discriminate in favour of young British workers.
  • Repeal the Agency Workers Directive.
  • Conduct a skills review to better inform our education system and qualifications.
  • Encourage councils to provide more free parking for the high street.
  • Simplify planning regulations and licences for empty commercial property vacant for over a year.
  • Extend the right to appeal for micro businesses against HMRC action.

For policies visit: http://www.ukip.org/policies_for_people  

For views visit: http://www.ukip.org/believing_in_britain_s_smaller_businesses

Green Party:

Britain is one of the wealthiest nations in the world but this wealth isn’t being shared fairly.

We currently have an economic system that prioritises growth in company profits over the wellbeing of society. This has seen money concentrated in the hands of a wealthy few; leaving the rest of us to suffer at the hands of the coalition’s austerity agenda.

An economy that works for all:

We have everything we need to build a fair economy: natural resources, skilled people, modern technology.  But the Westminster Establishment has built an unfair one where those at the top gain while those at the bottom suffer. We can transform our economy if we have the courage to challenge the vested interests and close the gap between the rich and the poor.

We will:

  • End austerity and restore the public sector, creating over one million good jobs that pay at least living wage.
  • Pay for this with a new wealth tax on the top 1%, a Robin Hood tax on the banks and the closure of tax loopholes.
  • Increase the minimum wage to reach a living wage of £10 an hour by 2020.

For more on the economy visit: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html or, for a shortened version: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/fair-economy.html