"Survey of 4,000 SMEs reveals 40% plan on voting Conservative as payroll taxes and availability of funding tops the list of priorities"
(PRWEB) May 1, 2010
Over 40% of people running small firms are planning to vote Tory in the coming General Election, and it’s their experience of operating a business that’s driving their decision, according to a survey of 4,000 SMEs conducted by Touch Financial.
This strong pro-Conservative sentiment comes at a time when many businesses are struggling to survive. Having weathered a deep recession a large number of firms are finding it difficult to get access to credit and to grow their sales, with almost three quarters of those surveyed believing that banks need to make more commercial funding available.
The Conservative’s headline policy for small businesses is to take the sting out of Labour’s planned 1% increase in National Insurance contributions which will hit both employers and employees. Of the firms surveyed, almost half predicted this increase will hit profits, and more than 60% felt it would put a freeze on hiring more staff, or worse, lead to redundancies.
Shortage of Business Lending Remains a Concern
The issue where the survey respondents thought the Conservatives would make the largest difference to them is improving the access to borrowing. The Conservative Party propose to bring in a National Loan Guarantee Scheme aimed squarely at introducing diverse sources of affordable credit for business.
Faced with the prospect of very slow economic recovery firms need to borrow more money in order to invest in their future, or simply to survive. Measures taken by the government, such as spreading VAT and Corporation Tax payments through the Business Payment Support Scheme have helped in the short term, but these are not medium-term solutions to funding the current shortfall in working capital that many are enduring.
Other Business-Friendly Commitments
The Conservatives are also offering a number of other attractive incentives to business. They’re proposing to cut the main rate of Corporation Tax from 28p to 25p and the small company rate from 22p to 20p, paid for by eliminating a complex system of reliefs.
Their other promises, as set out in their manifesto, include:
- Encouraging entrepreneurialism by making it easier to set up businesses and removing restrictions on tenants in social housing from starting businesses.
- Setting a target of 25% of government contracts going to SMEs.
- Making small business rate relief automatic.
- Exemption from Employers’ National Insurance on the first ten employees hired in the first year, for all new businesses set up in the first two years of a Conservative government.
- Setting up an Office of Tax Simplification to do exactly that: review the tax system and recommend ways of making it easier for businesses to manage.