The UK enjoyed the fastest growth of any G7 nation last year. It is in the middle of a jobs boost, with 1.5m more full-time jobs and youth unemployment down by 175,000 since the coalition came to power and 581,178 new businesses were started last year, nearly 100,000 more than in 2012 and the best-paid one per cent is now paying more than ever to the Treasury: 27 per cent of income tax.
If Ed Miliband’s Labour party come to power in tomorrow’s election, they have already promised market interference, counterproductive tax rises and increased regulation and costs to British SMEs as a matter of policy.
Miliband himself regards France’s socialist President Francois Hollande as a man who offers “new leadership”.
Hollande led by taxing his country’s highest earners at 75 per cent, a supertax that was immediately damaging, raised little money and was abandoned as quickly as it was introduced. Last year the economy of Birmingham added more jobs than the whole of France.
Miliband and his team have not just been wrong about what would work. They have also been wrong about the success of coalition policy. The Labour party predicted the loss of a million jobs under David Cameron’s leadership but recent unemployment figures showed that the rate of those out of work was dramatically dropping as more SMEs increased their staff levels.
With its tax on high-priced homes and attack on non-doms, Labour has won few admirers in business. In office, pursuing this cynical populism risks an exodus of wealth- creators to less hostile climes, savaging the recovery. In our Trends Research survey of UK SMEs and fast growth companies, 68 per cent said the Conservatives had the best policies to support the growth of their business and would allow them to increase their workforce, a move which in turn would drive down the UK unemployment figures even further.
There is still work to be done on restoring Britain to where it needs to be. Money is starting re-flow at all levels of our economy. Our relationship with Europe remains a divisive topic for business, however we are better within the EU framework that on the outside as you can never change something without having a voice in which to do so.
Given the close nature of the current opinion polls many outside of business may question this opinion as one that has been formed, or been dictated to have been formed, by an owner who is a multimillion pound media tycoon who does not live in the UK and has little regard for its people. This is not true as our ultimate owners Audere Capital are a UK based media and investment company with holdings large and small in nearly twenty five small and medium-sized businesses across the UK and this title has complete editorial freedom for all of its output.
As the countries largest business magazine brand all of our editorial staff spend every day speaking with Britain’s startup, small, medium and fast growing businesses, which are far more important to UK PLC that the FTSE100 combined.
The last two years there has been a visible difference to how company owners see their own business and the sectors that they trade within as the coalition’s resolve to repair the UK economy did just that and confidence has begun to return.
But tomorrow the choice could not be clearer. The party with ideas that work is the party that has for the last five years permitted private enter- prise to create jobs and growth to the benefit of all. Business Matters backs the Conservatives.