Political I am not … But!! Makes you think…

1 May 2010

Anyone that knows me knows that I try to stay out of political debate, not because I am not interested, just that I don’t have time to analyse the arguments in the depth that I would like, if I was going to argue a case, so when Laura Ashley-Timms from Notion Business Coaching sent this email, from Gary Cousins of Cousins Business Law, I thought… good summary and wanted to share this with anyone that might be interested….

So firstly, thanks to Laura http://notionltd.com for circulating this and of course Gary – http://business-lawfirm.co.uk.


As election fever sweeps the country, we (Cousins Business Law)
have taken a look at the manifestos of the three major parties to
see what they promise to do for small and medium businesses.

Our view is that real steps need to be taken to support SMEs through
the recession and recovery process, and that means taking measures
to help SMEs get the finance they need at a reasonable price, reduce
regulation and red tape, and reform the tax system. Big businesses
certainly seem to be siding with the Conservatives, as you might
expect, but who do you think is most likely to deliver for SMEs?

• Increasing investment through a UK Finance for Growth Scheme.
This will focus on SMEs who need to borrow between £2 million
and £10 million or are in the high tech industries.
• Setting lending targets for the banks in which the state has an
• Increasing capital allowances to encourage investment.
• Continuing with the Time to Pay Scheme for tax and National
• Allowing small b usinesses to opt for a 1-year holiday on business
• Increasing Entrepreneurs Relief to a lifetime limit of £2 million.
• Creating a Small Business Credit Adjudicator to ensure SMEs are
not turned down unfairly when applying for bank finance.
• Simplifying regulation and avoiding unnecessary red tape.

• For the 1st 2 years of a conservative government, removing
employers’ National Insurance for a business’s first 10 employees
for its first year.
• Making small business rates relief automatic.
• Putting 25% of State research and procurement contracts out
to SMEs.
• ; Creating a Work for Yourself program to give unemployed people
access to business mentors and substantial loans to start new
• Reducing marginal tax rates for those returning to work.
• Reducing red tape by introducing a “one in one out” policy
whereby, if a department introduces new regulation, it must
abolish at least as much existing regulation.
• Creating more diverse sources of affordable credit through a
National Loan Guarantee Scheme.
• Improving Research & Development Tax Credits to focus on high
tech companies, small businesses and start-ups.

Liberal Democrats
• Insisting that taxpayers&rs quo; representatives sit on the boards of
banks to increase bank lending to viable businesses on fair terms.
• Supporting Local Enterprise Funds to encourage a source of
finance at a local level.
• Reducing red tape by introducing a “one in one out” policy and
sunset clauses (whereby regulations only last for a certain amount
of time unless actively renewed).
• Reforming business rates so they will be based on site values rather
than rental values.
• Making Small Business Rates Relief automatic.
• Creating an Enterprise Fund to offer training, mentoring, and small
grants and loans to help creative businesses get off the ground.

Of course, the most important thing that SMEs need is a real and
sustained improvement in the economy and it’s difficult to judge which
party will best lay the foundations for this. Only time will tell.