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Blog: Stephen Martin on what matters to business in the General Election

10 May 2017

stephen martin director generalIn a month, we will be going to the polls to elect our next Government. While Brexit appears to be dominating the election debate – negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and forming a new trade agreement will undoubtedly take up most of the new (or re-elected) Prime Minister’s time in the immediate future – it is of course not the only issue that the political parties should be focusing on.

Ahead of the general election, we have decided to share a series of short documents, or ‘minifestos’ as we like to call them, outlining the priorities of the business community for this election and beyond. We’ll cover infrastructure, trade, corporate governance, tax, skills – areas that we recognise matter to you and may determine the success of your business.

We kicked off our campaign this week, focusing on start-ups and scale-ups and reforming corporate governance. The Government has to date proved successful in building a climate for start-ups, however expanding a business, as many of you may well know, could be made easier.

We want the next Government to do more to improve the conditions for entrepreneurs. We recognise that access to finance and skills are the top priorities for many of you and have urged all political parties to pay attention to young firms when making decisions in areas ranging from business funding to the post-Brexit immigration system.

One of the immediate priorities for the new Prime Minister should be clarifying whether UK businesses will retain access to the European Investment Fund (EIF) – UK venture capital funds received €2.3bn from the EIF between 2011 and 2015, a significant enough amount for the fund to be drawn to the attention of decision-makers. We also urge the next Government to trial higher tax reliefs for investing in start-ups outside of London and the South East.

One of the quickest and easiest ways for the new Government to show its support for business founders is increasing awareness of current business support schemes. Our recent survey revealed that between 2010 and 2015 half of IoD members had no contact with the Government’s Business Departments. Meanwhile many remain unsure where to go to access advice locally. We recognise this as a big problem, but one which could be solved fairly simply and could go some way in providing the much needed support for Britain’s talented entrepreneurs.

These are just some of the priorities that we have raised with the political leaders seeking to occupy 10 Downing Street on the 8th of June – more will follow over the next two weeks. The IoD aims to continue to be the voice of business throughout this election campaign and beyond to ensure that Britain remains the best place to start and grow a business.

Interested in finding out more? 

Visit our General Election hub here and get involved in the conversation on Twitter #IoDElection  

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