It’s starting: the buzz and bustle of the General Elections is beginning to kick off, and if recent events are anything to go by, it’s going to be a very big year for small businesses.
The Federation of Small Businesses, known as the UK’s leading business organisation and independent of any political party allegiance, have stated that the 2015 General Election is a crucial one for the Government to back small business.
“Start-ups are being created at an all-time record rate, with more people choosing to be self-employed,” the FSB stated in a manifesto aimed at political leaders.
“We see more diversity within our ranks, with more women and young people in particular setting up in business for the very first time.” Exciting stuff for budding entrepreneurs, but is the government responding favourably?
The election will be taking place on Thursday 7th May, but before we even think about heading down to the polls we’ll have our eyes glued on The Great Hall at the ICAEW for (drumroll, please) The Small Business Election Debate.
Run by Enterprise Nation and taking place on 2nd March 2015, The Small Business Election Debate will feature top members from the major league parties who will be speaking out to let us know what they’ll be doing for small businesses, and answering questions from SME owners in London.
That includes: Business Secretary Vince Cable (Lib Dem), Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock (Conservative), Labour’s shadow Small Business Minister Toby Perkins, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and UKIP’s small business spokesperson Margot Parker.
The rules dictate that each party cannot publish their official manifestos until mid-April, so this debate will be a great introduction to what will be on offer specifically for SMEs. Until then, let’s consider where the parties are currently standing on the main business-concerning issues…
Economy & taxes: Plans are to cut income tax for 30 million people by 2020, with tax starting at a higher rate of £12,500 a year (currently £10,500). For higher earners, the tax point would be set at £50,000 (currently £41,900), which would be paid for with £25bn in extra spending cuts and economic growth. Ideally, the deficit would be eradicated in three years.
Jobs & work: Apprenticeships will be massively encouraged, with three million apprenticeships to be created and paid for by benefit cuts.
Economy & taxes: Those who earn more than £100,000 a year to pay 50% income tax, with a wealth tax on 1-2% people worth over £3m. The railways and energy companies would be renationalised, and an attitude towards accepting zero economic growth would be encouraged, with no individual hardship.
Jobs & work: Thousands of new jobs to be created via a national energy conservation scheme. Local production of food and goods will be encouraged. Councils will be able to enforce businesses rates on supermarkets to fund small local businesses.
Economy & taxes: No additional borrowing for new spending would be allowed, to get the budget into surplus and get the national debt falling. Those earning £150,000 would once again be taxed at 50%, and income tax would be reduced for 24 million people by bringing back the ‘10p tax rate’. Married Couples’ Tax Allowance would be scrapped and bankers would have their bonuses taxed.
Jobs & work: Jobs will be guaranteed for under-25s who have been unemployed for over a year and for adults who have been unemployed for more than two years. Zero hour contracts will be banned, and apprenticeships will be pushed as much as university attendance is. A million new green, high technology jobs will also be created by 2025.
Economy & taxes: The lower limit for tax would be raised to £11,000 in April 2016 and to £12,500 by 2020. An aim to be rid of the deficit by 2018 with new fiscal rules that would mainly target the most wealthy. The ‘mansion tax’ would be in place, operating with tax bands.
Jobs & work: Plans would be to create a million more jobs, while apprenticeships would once again be focussed on with a £1/hour increase for the lowest paid apprentices.
Economy & taxes: The lowest tax limit would be increased to above minimum wage earnings by 2020. A Treasury Commission would be set up to design a turnover tax on large businesses. The foreign aid budget would be cut by £9bn a year while £8bn a year in membership fees would be saved by leaving the EU.
Jobs & work: Companies would be allowed to offer jobs to British workers first without being penalised for discrimination.
The deadline to register to vote is 20th April, so there’s still plenty of time to make sure you’re enrolled to have your say.