General election 2017: Labour vs Conservative – Which party is best for business?

Ahead of the June 8 election, we've analysed small business policies from the manifestos of Britain's two biggest political parties. Find out how their plans could impact you...

With the snap general election called back in April, UK voters will once again flock to the polls for a general election on Thursday 8 June.

Economic and political uncertainly is growing across Europe and the wider world and so the business-mindset of the next government will be crucial in ensuring that the UK, and the small businesses it’s home to, can survive – especially in life after the European Union.

At Startups.co.uk, we recognise that start-ups and small businesses are the backbone of the economy so we’ve read through the recent Labour and Conservative manifestos – Britain’s two main, and biggest, political parties – to help you make your mind up on which party means business…

Taxes

LabourLabour:

  • Intends to increase income tax for anyone earning above £80,000 a year.
  • Has assured that it will increase personal National Insurance Contributions or the rate of VAT.
  • Will raise corporation tax, with the suggestion this would be a gradual rise from the current rate of 19% to 26% by 2020.
  • Will reintroduce the lower small profits rate of corporation tax.
  • Will exclude small businesses with a turnover of less than £85,000 from plans to introduce quarterly reporting.
  • Plans to introduce an excessive pay levy on companies with staff on high pay.
  • Has outlined a “package of reform” for business rates – including switching from RPI to CPI indexation and exempting new investment in plant and machinery from valuations.

ConservativeConservative

  • Wants to lower corporation tax to from 19% to 17% by 2020.
  • Is exploring the introduction of self-assessment in the valuation process for business rates, as well as conducting a full review of the business rates system to ensure it is compatible with the modern world of online shopping.

Infrastructure

LabourLabour:

  • Plans to create a National Transformation Fund that would invest £250bn over 10 years to help upgrade the economy.
  • Has promised to complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester and Scotland, and build Crossrail 2.
  • Wants to roll-out universal superfast broadband across the UK by 2022.
  • Will instruct the National Infrastructure Commission to report on how to roll out ‘ultrafast’ 3000bps across the UK within a decade.
  • Is set to appoint a digital ambassador to work with tech start-ups to promote Britain as an attractive place for investment and to provide support for start-ups to scale up.
  • Will continue the current £1.9bn investment in cyber security.

ConservativeConservative:

  • Plans to create a £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund which would include £740m of digital infrastructure investment, £1.1bn to improve local transport and £250m in skills by the end of 2020.
  • Has asserted that all routine small business and consumer banking services will be available in rural post offices.
  • Has promised that HS2 will be completed as will the “Northern Powerhouse” Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
  • Will put plans in place for The British Business Bank to open new offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newport.
  • Wants to launch a new institute of technology in the UK, dedicated to world-leading digital skills.
  • Post-Brexit, it claims the British Business Bank will be financed by the repatriated funds from the European Investment Fund.
  • Will guarantee that every business in Britain will have access to high speed broadband by 2020 with full fibre connection voucher for companies being introduced by across by 2018.
  • Claims that by 2022, 10 million businesses will be connected to major fibre spines in over a hundred towns and cities.

Regulation

LabourLabour:

  • Government procurement will ensure that anyone bidding for a government contract pays its own suppliers within 30 days.
  • Wants to introduce a version of the Australian system of binding arbitration and fines for persistent late-payers for the private and public sectors.
  • Intends to introduce a proper legal definition for co-operative ownership.

ConservativeConservative: 

  • Asserts that £9bn will be saved via the Red Tape Challenge and the One-In-Two-Out Rule.
  • Will give employees a right to request information relating to the future direction of their company.
  • Will require listed companies to either nominate a director from the workforce, create a formal employee advisory council or assign specific responsibility for employee representation to a designated non-executive director.
  • Has said there will be a “robust system” for protection of intellectual property(IP) post-Brexit.
  • Intends for businesses to have the right to insist on a digital signature and the right to digital cancellation of contracts.
  • Digital companies will be obliged to provide digital receipts and clearer terms and conditions when selling goods and services online.
  • The party will ensure that 33% of central government purchasing will come from small businesses.

Brexit

LabourLabour

  • Accepts the EU referendum result confirming Britain’s exit from the EU.
  • Will guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals living in Britain.
  • Will make sure that all workplace laws, consumer rights and environmental protections – are fully protected post-Brexit.
  • Says parliament will vote on final deal.

ConservativeConservative

  • Accepts the EU referendum result confirming Britain’s exit from the EU.
  • Will ensure the UK is no longer a member of the single market or customs union.
  • Will seek a “special partnership” and comprehensive free trade and customs agreement with the EU.
  • Says small financial contributions to the EU may be retained for specific European programmes.
  • Will reach a Brexit agreement within the two years allowed by Article 50.
  • Will enact a Great Repeal Bill to turn all EU law into UK law.

Employment

LabourLabour

  • Plans to maintain the apprenticeship levy and give employers “more flexibility” around hiring employees.
  • Will protect the £440m fund for apprenticeships for small-and medium-sized employers who don’t pay the levy.
  • Wants to ban zero-hours contracts.
  • Has proposed four new public bank holidays.
  • Intends to raise the minimum wage to the level of the Living Wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – for all workers aged 18 or over.
  • Will ban unpaid internships
  • Will abolish employment tribunal fees.
  • Intends to double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay.
  • Plans to shift the burden of proof, so the law assumes a worker is an employee unless the employer can prove otherwise.

Conservative Conservative

  • Has said it will continue to increase the National Minimum Wage to 60% of median earnings by 2020.
  • Will protect ‘gig’ economy workers.
  • Wants to double the immigration skills charge levied on businesses employing migrant workers, to £2,000 a year.
  • Plans to introduce the right to lifelong learning in digital skills.
  • Intends to increase the earnings thresholds for people wishing to sponsor migrants for family visas.
  • Businesses with more than 250 employees will be required to publish more data on how they pay male and female employees.
  • Will push for an increase in the number of women sitting on boards of companies.
  • Employers will be provided with amended health and safety regulation,s appropriate first aid training, and a needs assessment for mental health.

Labour versus Conservative: Which party is best for business? We’d love to hear your thoughts so please comment below or get in touch on Twitter using the Twitter handle @startupstowers

Comments

You must log in or Sign up to post a comment.