The small business general election

21st November 2019

This week has seen the three main party leaders set out their plans to secure the support of the UK’s business leaders at the CBI conference, as well as manifestos for the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties. At the CBI conference, Boris Johnson made the case for getting Brexit done, while Jo Swinson claimed that the Lib Dems are the “natural party of business”. Labour focused on apprenticeships and training for the business community.

When setting out their stall in business policy, one area that is set to have a huge impact is the support promised for small and medium enterprises across the UK. The SME community employs 16.6million of the roughly 45million eligible voters in the UK and contributes £2.2trillion (52%) to the economy.

If the next Government can make it clear that they are the party to help this sector of business to grow and thrive they could see significant support from one of the biggest sections of voters to exist in the UK.

With final manifestos set to be unveiled in the coming days, headlines will be dominated by pledges of more spending, tax cuts and other policies. But many will be hoping for increased support for growing businesses, incentives for investors and promoting job creation in a vital sector of the UK economy.

The importance of the SME sector is hard to overstate, and in the context of the upcoming election will be hugely important to the future economy. With over a third of the electorate employed by small businesses this could really be a swing vote of society – if this section of the workforce feels more confident in their job security and business growth with one party, it will almost undoubtedly affect voting decisions.

For SMEs to feel confident in their capacity to grow, employ more people and expand they need to trust that the incoming Government is going to look after them and deliver security. The range of innovative and agile firms in the space currently is reflective of the entrepreneurial spirit of the UK which if fostered correctly could kick-start the wider economy into a period of growth.