By Lynne Gowers on 19th November 2019

General Election: what are the main parties offering UK businesses?

The British public take to the polling booths for a General Election on Thursday 12th December, with the result determining who will take the country into 2020 and beyond.

Despite the official manifestos of the three main parties not being available yet, the leaders have taken to the podium at the Confederation of British Industry’s annual conference, in a bid to sway the business vote.

For the UK’s 5.8 million SMEs, here are the key take-aways:

Conservatives – Boris Johnson

BoJo’s speech suggested that protecting UK employers is a priority for the Tories. Proposals mooted by the PM included:

  • General tax cuts
  • Cuts to Employers’ NI
  • Increasing Employment Allowance to £4000
  • R&D Tax Credit rate to increase from 12% to 13%
  • Structures and Building allowance increase from 2% to 3%
  • Deliver Brexit by January 2020 to give businesses certainty
  • Postpone cuts to Corporation Tax, instead giving priority funding to institutions like the NHS.

Labour – Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn heavily promoted a drive to the green economy, pledging that Labour would:

  • Create a climate apprenticeship economy
  • Enable the training of 80,000 people per year in industries including renewable energy and sustainable construction
  • This would be funded by the Apprenticeship Levy and Labour’s Inclusive Ownership Funds
  • Tackle “poverty pay”
  • Ensure large companies pay their “fair share” of tax
  • Improve infrastructure including full-fibre broadband
  • Corporation Tax will be no higher than 2010 rates (which was 28% for large companies, 21% for small – although no indication of whether this would be applied in the same way or 28% across the board)

Liberal Democrats – Jo Swinson

Jo Swinson said that the Liberal Democrats are “the party for business”.

  • Wants UK to remain in the EU for economic stability
  • Claims party is the “middle ground” between “pro-Brexit” conservatives and 1970s labour
  • Says that Brexit in any form will be bad for the UK and that businesses stand a better chance of future success if the UK was to remain within the EU.

The big picture

Politicians of all persuasions are visualising the UK as part of a future global economy, whether inside or outside the EU.

That just isn’t possible without the contribution of small businesses, so the SME vote is hugely important to all parties. Make your election vote count on December 12th.

Visit our help & advice archive for all sorts of business and tax guidance.

Written by Lynne Gowers
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