Business groups publish their manifesto wishlists

As the UK general election draws closer, business groups have published their own policy proposals and manifestos.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) manifesto, Brexit and Beyond, is calling on the next Government to improve prospects for businesses by reducing the cost of doing business.

Dr Adam Marshall, BCC director general, said: " While businesses … want a good Brexit deal, they are very clear that decisions taken here at home matter as much - if not more - to our future growth prospects. At this election, business communities want a clear commitment from all parties to create the best possible conditions for growth ... Westminster must stop and reverse the relentless increases in the up-front cost of doing business in Britain."

Also focusing on business costs, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is asking all the parties to make a positive commitment not to single-out the self-employed for tax rises. Its small business election manifesto, Small Business, Big Ambition, also calls for a fairer deal for the self-employed on benefits such as equal maternity pay and fairer treatment under Universal Credit.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: "The UK's army of 4.8 million self-employed are the backbone of this country and should be recognised for the value they add both to the economy and their local communities. Politicians seeking their votes should be on their side and against hitting them with extra costs."

The FSB manifesto calls for 30 measures to support SMEs, including:

  • the creation of small business export vouchers alongside export tax credits, to help small firms trade with new markets for the first time;
  • guarantee the rights of EU citizens to stay and work;
  • make the worst examples of supply chain bullying illegal, such as retrospective discounting and pay to stay clauses;
  • create a new approach to business rates for 2022 based on the ability to pay.

The first of a series of manifesto papers from the Institute of Directors (IoD) has called for the next Government to pay particular attention to young companies after the general election. Its proposals include trialling higher tax reliefs for investing in start-ups outside of London and the South East, through the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.

Jamie Kerr, IoD head of entrepreneurship and tech policy, said: "Boosting entrepreneurship has been a UK success story over the last few years, and as we prepare to leave the EU, enabling business to set up and grow will be even more vital."

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