From the top · 31 May 2017

General election small business pledges – Five key policies per party

General election business policy
Which party has offered micro business owners the best deal?

To help entrepreneurs and micro business owners decide which way to vote on 8 June, Business Advice has put together a summary of the general election small business pledges of the six largest political parties (by 2015 popular vote count).

As this year’s snap general election edges nearer, entrepreneurs and micro business owners, like most people in Britain, will be deciding who to vote for come polling day on 8 June.

Given just a few weeks to launch election campaigns and prepare manifestos, the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Green Party and SNP, as well as the in-power Conservatives, have hurriedly launched policies each believe will win the votes of small business owners.

So, to make sense of this year’s general election small business pledges, here’s what each party has announced, summed up in five key bullet points.

General election small business pledges 2017

Conservatives

  • Continue to cut corporation tax to 17 per cent by 2020
  • Increase the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate of tax to £50,000 by 2020
  • A full review of the business rate system, to ensure revaluations are more frequent and large changes are avoided
  • Continue to increase the National Living Wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020
  • A national insurance “holiday” for small firms employing ex-offenders, disabled people and those with mental health disorders.

Key quote

Prime minister, Theresa May: “When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few, we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background.”

Read the Conservatives manifesto in full

Labour

  • Increase income tax for people earning over £80,000 per year, but halt rise of VAT and national insurance
  • A new lower small profits rate of corporation tax for small firms
  • Scrap quarterly tax reporting for businesses with a turnover of less than £85,000
  • Ban zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships
  • Increase the Living Wage to £10 per hour by 2022, whilst turning the minimum wage into a living wage for all workers aged 18 or over

Key quote

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, on the scourge of late payments: It’s a national scandal. And it’s stopping businesses from growing and causing thousands to go bust every year. It kills jobs and holds back economic growth.”

Read the Labour manifesto in full

Liberal Democrats

  • Reverse Conservative cuts to corporation tax and capital gains
  • Introduce a £100 per week “startup allowance” for entrepreneurs to help with living costs
  • A full review of the business rates system, prioritising business rates cuts for smaller firms
  • Double number of businesses hiring apprentices and increase advice on entrepreneurship and self-employment in schools
  • Expand activities of the British Business Bank, making it easier for small firms to borrow

Key quote

Party leader, Tim Farron, on Brexit: “I believe that this country is more prosperous if it remains open, tolerant and united”

Read the Liberal Democrat manifesto in full 

UKIP

  • Reduce business rates by 20 per cent for the 1.5m companies operating from premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000
  • A full HMRC investigation into late payments to small firms, with fines levied to big businesses
  • Improved access to trade credit insurance for exporters struggling to access finance
  • Review public sector procurement to open up government contracts to a higher proportion of small businesses
  • Encourage local councils to offer 30 minutes of free parking in town and city centres.

Key quote

Party leader, Paul Nutall: Be it our stance on balanced migration, constitutional reform or integration, I predict we are leading where the other parties will eventually follow.”

Read the UKIP manifesto in full

Green Party

  • Support startups and creative enterprises through new community credit and green investment fund
  • Transform the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) into a network of local people’s banks, with a branch in every town and city, obliged to lend locally and offer cheap basic banking services
  • Introduce a system of universal basic income as a way to increase social security and reduce poverty
  • Promote and support all small businesses, especially co-operatives and mutuals, and speed up nationwide rollout of high speed broadband
  • Begin phasing in a four-day working week, while banning zero-hours contracts

Key quote

Party leader, Caroline Lucas: Building a successful society and economy is not at odds with protecting our environment – it is impossible without it.”

Read the Green Party manifesto in full

SNP

  • Expansion of the Small Business Bonus scheme to increase number of firms paying no rates
  • Increase personal allowance to £12,500, increase higher rate of income tax in line with inflation and freeze basic income tax rate
  • Reduce or abolish business rates on almost 100,000 premises
  • Launch new jobs grants for people aged 16 to 24
  • Increase rollout of superfast broadband to all of Scotland over next four years

Key quote

Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, on the case for Scottish independence: “The question for Scotland is ‘what puts us in the best position to steer our way to a stronger and more sustainable economy, and a fairer society?’”

Read the SNP manifesto in full 


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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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