General election 2015: Entrepreneurs react

The votes are in and the shock Conservative majority win will see David Cameron lead the country for another five years, UK business owners tell Startups what they think of the result…

The results of the general election 2015 are in and the surprise majority win for Conservatives with 331 seats will see David Cameron remain in power as Prime Minister for another five years. But is the result what small businesses wanted?

We gathered reactions from UK entrepreneurs to find out…

Anthony Sherick, managing director, Technojobs: 

“In terms of big business Labour created a negative stigma of those making a profit – which would dis-encourage UK inward investment and also the arrival of Ed Miliband at 10 Downing St would have worried many IT contractors – who make such a valuable contribution to the digital economy.

“The Conservatives made a number of references in their manifesto towards supporting the digital economy – notably of benefit to entrepreneurs and start-ups, saying: ‘More tech companies are starting up here than anywhere else in Europe.’ They also promised to ‘back the financial technology revolution’ and pledged to make the UK the ‘best place in Europe to innovate, patent new ideas and set up and expand a business’ as well as ‘make Britain the technology centre of Europe’.

“In perspective a Conservative government is likely to encourage the tech sector far greater than any of the other parties which is positive for untapping the massive sector potential.”

Michelle Wright, CEO, Cause4:

“As we absorb the shock election result, the news of a Conservative win has some positives for small business. In terms of funding, which is so essential for small and medium enterprises, David Cameron has promised to triple the number of start-up loans available to businesses to £75,000 and to extend the Funding for Lending scheme. There should be support for entrepreneurs with the proposed provision of other loans through building a network of business mentors. An extension of apprenticeships to three million by 2020 using money saved from a reduced benefits cap is also attractive, as is the fact that no individual earning minimum wage will pay income tax, with an increase in the tax free allowance to £12,500.”

“Similarly, Conservative pledges to support auto-enrolment into pensions is also positive for small business employees. This might add some additional pressure to the owners of small businesses, but it really is important to protect the interests of employees.”

David Grimes, managing director, My Parcel Delivery:

“It’s safe to say that the vast majority of us were surprised by the exit-poll last night, but I’m sure that many start-ups, up and down the country will have woken up satisfied this morning to see that the polls were remarkably accurate. We’ve avoided a hung parliament this time around which is good news for the economy and will give businesses more confidence and stability moving forward.

“I am pleased that the policies focused on job creation and building a stronger economy can be built upon for future start-ups over the next parliament. And of course, as a Manchester-based company, I am delighted that the momentum towards a Northern Powerhouse will continue to build through this government.”

Shalini Khemka, CEO, E2Exchange:

“A Conservative majority has given new life to small businesses. Today’s result will be a welcome relief for business owners, ensuring that policies such as Entrepreneurs’ Relief and the current £10m lifetime gain tax are kept intact – policies which would have been under threat if Labour had come to power.

“Although business confidence today is high, a Conservative government will likely lead to a referendum on the EU and we should be mindful of the impact a Brexit could have on UK small and medium enterprises, especially in terms of trade and recruiting a skilled workforce.”

David Godber, group CEO, Elmwood:

“For sure the City will be happy with the current strategy of balancing the books, supporting employers and keeping public spending in check maintaining its current momentum. However I think there’s an interesting shift in the demography of the nation that needs to be considered seriously. Previously we’ve become accustomed to talking about the North-South divide. But this morning we’ve got a specific shift towards nationalism, obvious by the significant Scottish vote going to the SNP.

“Overall I’m optimistic. But I would be arguing for regional consideration and support: for additional FE and HE funding for courses in creativity and technology; for the continuity of support for centres of excellence and creative and technology clusters; and for more simplicity in funding and R&D tax credit application processes.”

Darren Fell, MD, Crunch Accounting:

“We conducted a survey on the eve of the election showing that the majority of small business owners favoured a Conservative government, so it certainly seems the business community have made their voices heard. While the Conservatives have been quite strong on overall business policies, their support for one-man-band businesses has been less than stellar. Hopefully Cameron will give something back to those who helped re-elect him and introduce some meaningful support for freelancers and contractors.”

Phillippe Gelis, CEO and co-founder, Kantox:

“Politicians are still catching up on fintech. The Conservatives were the only party to mention fintech in their manifesto, professing to ‘back the fintech revolution’, but we are yet to see any explicit commitments or detail. Nonetheless, with George Osborne’s pre-election Budget promising further policies to drive innovation in this sector – including opening up banking APIs and a proposed regulatory sandbox – we’re hopeful that conversations will at least be heading in the right direction with the introduction of a Conservative government.”

Nimesh Shah and Milan Pandya, partners, Blick Rothenberg:

“A Conservative government will continue to support businesses, in particular by abolishing employer’s national insurance for under 21s and apprentices for under 25s and by proposing a review of business rates by the end of 2015 and taking forward any actions from 2017.

These are all positive steps but there is still further to go: we would like to see the Conservatives propose changes to capital gains tax and Entrepreneurs’ Relief, which are valuable incentives to those people setting up businesses. It is similarly important that, whilst the Conservatives suggested they would review the non-dom rules, they would retain the regime broadly in its current form in order to encourage international investment in the UK.”

Chris Bryce, chief executive, IPSE:

“We look forward to working with the new government, and all of the parties to best serve the UK’s four and half million self-employed. The Conservative party took up many of IPSE’s ideas in their manifesto and we look forward to seeing these implemented. A new business conciliation service would help address some of the issues stemming from late payments and we hope to play a leading role in contributing to reviews on how, mortgages, pensions and maternity and paternity pay could work better for the self-employed in the new parliament.”

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