What are politicians promising SMEs in the run up to the General Election?

posted by 3 years ago in Round-up

The General Election looms large and, during the constant press coverage, live TV debates and campaigning, promises have been made to small business owners. So, what are these manifesto pledges* and what do they mean for UK SMEs?

Read our guide to find out…

Taxation

Conservative

  • Ruled out an increase in VAT
  • Promised to increase the personal allowance for income tax to £12,500, and raise the higher rate threshold to £50,000
  • Remained silent on the National Insurance rise that was announced and later scrapped

Labour

  • Promised a full review of business rates along with a commitment to scrap quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover of under £85,000
  • Pledged to increase income tax for those earning over £80,000 per year
  • Committed to increase corporation tax for large businesses to pave the way for a lower rate for SMEs
  • Ruled out increases to National Insurance or VAT

Lib Dem

  • Prioritised cuts to business rates
  • Promised to reverse Conservative cuts to corporation tax and capital gains
  • Pledged to increase income tax by 1p in the pound

 

Gavel and Business law book on linen surface. Conceptual illustration

Employment law

Conservative

  • Will provide greater protection for self-employed people and ‘gig economy’ workers in line with future recommendations in Matthew Taylor’s report
  • Will continue to increase the minimum wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020

Labour

  • Implement a ban on zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships
  • Increase the living wage to £10 per hour by 2022
  • Reassert the power of trade unions
  • Double paid paternity leave to four weeks
  • Introduce four new public holidays to mark the national patron saints’ days
  • Look to secure equal rights for workers from day one, whether part time, full time, temporary or permanent

Lib Dem

  • Create a formal right to request a contract for workers
  • Maintain rights currently guaranteed by European Union law including maternity and paternity leave
  • Install more employee rights from “day one” including flexible hours

 

Woodwork apprenticeship

 Skills

Conservative

  • Launch vocational qualifications called T-levels
  • Commitment to deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020
  • Set up new technology institutes throughout England

Labour

  • Protect funding to SMEs that hire apprentices and double the number completed at NVQ level 3 by 2022
  • Create a National Education Service for England

Lib Dem

  • Encourage partnerships between schools and businesses
  • Double the number of businesses that hire apprentices
  • Develop colleges to increase high-level vocational skills

 

a woman with unpaid bills has many debts. unemployment and personal bankruptcy

Funding

Conservative

  • Encourage early stage investment to help start-ups
  • Ensure that contractors working with the government adhere to the ‘Prompt Payment Code’ or lose the right to bid for the work in future

Labour

  • Prioritise lending and identify where the needs of SMEs aren’t being met through the National Investment Bank
  • Will demand that suppliers are paid within 30 days for all bidders for government contracts
  • Give out fines for persistent late-payers

Lib Dem

  • Create a start-up allowance
  • Increase activities of the British Business Bank
  • Provide mentoring support to help businesses to grow

 

Energy efficient bulb in hand with blue sky in background save energy concept

Business energy

Conservative

  • Promise to cap energy bills with a safeguard tariff cap
  • Commission an independent review into the Cost of Energy

Labour

  • Pledged to introduce an emergency price cap and transition to a fairer system for bill payers
  • Re-establish the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance
  • Prioritise maintaining access to the internal energy market whereby the UK buys and sells energy tariff free from Europe

Lib Dem

  • Generate 60 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030

 

Referendum in Great Britain (Brexit) about relationship with European Union. Voter holds envelope in hand above ballot.

Brexit

Conservative

  • Take the UK out of the single market and customs union
  • Plan to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU
  • Encourage a new culture of exporting

Labour

  • Guarantee existing rights for all EU national living in Britain
  • Pledge to secure rights for UK citizens

Lib Dem

  • Guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK
  • Oppose a ‘hard Brexit’ and want a referendum on any deal struck with the EU

 

New Houses under construction with wooden roofs ** Note: Visible grain at 100%, best at smaller sizes

Investment and infrastructure

Conservative

  • Spend £170 billion on housing, research and development, economic infrastructure and skills through a National Productivity Investment Fund
  • Increase research and development spending to 3 per cent over 10 years

Labour

  • Create a National Transformation fund to invest £250 billion over 10 years
  • Renationalise water, energy and the Royal Mail
  • Bring private rail companies under public ownership
  • Spend 3 per cent of GDP on research and development by 2030

Lib Dem

  • Introduce a £14 billion-a-year spending package and £100 billion infrastructure fund
  • Continue to champion the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine initiatives

All three parties are promising to:

  • Increase access to high-speed broadband
  • Build more housing
  • Back the big rail projects HS2 and Crossrail 2

*This article deals with manifesto points from the three major parties. Minority parties have also released relevant policies in their manifestos.