The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Election Update by Dr Brian Sloan

The Chamber hosted its first hustings event today in Salford.

The morning provided a great opportunity for business members to question their potential future Members of Parliament. The Prospective Parliamentary Candidates from the three main parties included Graham Stringer from Labour, Iain Lindley from the Conservatives and Norman Owen representing the Liberal Democrats. A range of questions were asked and the Labour candidate Graham Stringer emphasised how he valued such meetings which provided direct contact between MPs and businesses, and explained how they were crucial opportunities to find out what the issues were amongst the business community.

The Chamber's 5,300 members employ over 300,000 employees, therefore your views on the business environment, the future prospects of the economy and issues affecting your business have a direct relevance on the future job prospects of a large number of voters - that's why these events are crucial to you and to the politicians that want to be elected. Your voice will never be more effective in Westminster. We therefore urge you to make your voice heard, because without your views we cannot take action.

Every week we will be posting a question on our website on key issues and questions of the election 2010 campaign. Please visit the election page on the site to make your voice known. Alternatively visit your local Hustings event and pose your questions directly to our future representatives. All details can be found by clicking here

Liberal Democrats Manifesto launch

And finally, though with the prospect of a hung parliament surely not least, the Liberal Democrats launched their party manifesto this morning. The policies related to business are highlighted below:

-A tax exemption on the first £10,000 of annual earnings. This would be funded through a variety of measures such as tax relief on the basic pension rate only and the plans to tax capital gains at the same rate as income, a move which could prove controversial if and when more details of the proposal are announced.

-A pledge to break up the banks and encourage the development of local and regional banks was announced. This will build up diverse sources of business finance which will benefit Chamber members.

-The establishment of Regional Stock Exchanges to create a route for businesses to access equity without heavy regulatory requirement. Chris Fletcher, Deputy Chief Executive and Policy Director at the Chamber, said "Businesses may see the advantages in raising funds, but might shy away from relinquishing control of their business."

-The Party proposes business rate reforms in the manifesto. These include basing the rates on site values rather than rental values, and give the responsibility of them to local authorities. The Chamber welcomes plans to make Small Business Rate Relief automatic and to ensure that the burden is spread more equitably between small and large businesses. This will reduce the time and money spent by business and local authorities in contacting and redistributing SBRR funds.

-In terms of apprenticeships and jobs the party has pledged to meet all up-front costs for adult apprenticeships and has committed itself to begin its first term in office with a one year job creation and green economic stimulus package. £3.1 billion of public spending has been identified to create 100,000 jobs.

-The party is committed to establishing the UK Infrastructure Bank. This will be established to provide direct private finance to projects such as rail services. In terms of high speed rail, the party has not mentioned any planned routes but has stated that money from the Infrastructure bank will be used to fund such a system.

No comments:

Post a Comment