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Why should micro-business owners vote for your party?

An estimated 96% of all UK businesses are micro-businesses (those with less than ten employees), but their needs and concerns aren’t always understood or considered by those shaping our economy.


With the snap election on 8th June fast approaching, political parties have been scrambling to get their 2017 manifestos together. To give our community of freelancers, contractors, and small businesses an idea of what a vote for each party entails, we approached each party represented in the House of Commons to answer a straightforward question:


“Why should micro-business owners vote for your party?”


Note: We’ve attempted on multiple occasions to get a reply from all parties. For those that are yet to respond, we’ve taken quotes from their manifesto. Please contact chorus@crunch.co.uk if you represent one of these parties and wish to provide further comment.


Parties listed in order of MPs before Parliament dissolved on the 3rd May:


Conservatives


Quote from manifesto


“The Conservative Party is the party of enterprise and of the entrepreneur. We understand that small businesses are the wellspring of growth. They form a key part of British life, valued for their contribution to every community across the country. We will continue to support small businesses through business rate relief and low taxation, and by reducing the bureaucracy and regulation that prevents small businesses from flourishing.”


Read the Conservative Party manifesto


 


Labour


Quote from manifesto


“Our small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of our economy, providing 60 per cent of private-sector jobs. Technological changes, like the spread of digital manufacturing and rapid communication, mean smaller, faster businesses will be the future of our economy. Yet this Conservative Government has taken small businesses for granted. Labour is the party of small businesses. We understand the challenges our smaller businesses face.”


Read the Labour manifesto


 


SNP


Quote from manifesto


“Now more than ever, it is vital to have strong SNP voices standing up for jobs and businesses in Scotland. At Westminster, we will demand fresh support for businesses to grow and to boost productivity. We will hold the Tories to account, making sure they cannot trade away Scotland’s industries in Brexit negotiations. We will fight for Single Market membership. And we will demand new powers, so we can continue to


encourage the best and brightest from around the world to make Scotland their home, and contribute to our economy and society.”


Read the SNP manifesto


 


Liberal Democrat


Lord Fox, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson


Six out of ten of us work for a small or medium sized business and three-quarters of all small businesses 
might be described as ‘micro’. The prospects for the UK economy are therefore wholly entwined with the prospects for micro-businesses.


Leaving the Single Market and the customs union would be deeply destructive to the UK economy. Many micro-businesses need access to skilled EU workers to grow and sell across the EU.


But even those that do not depend on the UK’s overall economic success for customers, manufacturing and competitive pricing. Already, small businesses are seeing prices rise and this will only get worse if we leave the Single Market.


Polls say that two-thirds of voters believe staying in the Single Market should be the top priority for negotiations. You may or may not agree with Lib Dem policies on protecting liberal values, providing start-up allowances and minimising red tape, but at this election, we are the only party speaking for all businesses and the majority of Britons on this key issue.


The simple fact is we can’t have a hard Brexit and a strong economy. We choose a strong economy.


Read the Liberal Democrats manifesto


 


DUP


Quote from manifesto


“The DUP believes that it is essential that the benefits of economic growth are felt by everyone, everywhere. An improving economy must not just be for the benefit of big companies or confined to London and the South East. Growth must also have a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of hardworking families in every part of our nation.”


Read the DUP manifesto


 


Sinn Fein


Quote from manifesto


“The Tory party and DUP Brexit poses a huge threat to the economic future of the people of this island in terms of a land border on the island, the north being forced out of the single market and barriers to trade. What is required is a pro-active detailed strategy to deal with the special and unique circumstances faced by the island of Ireland including protecting all-Ireland trade and dealing with the huge challenges in relation to future trading arrangements between the EU and Britain. Sinn Féin wants to realise the potential of our economy free, from a border.”


Read the Sinn Féin manifesto


 


Plaid Cymru


Party HQ’s response to query


Small businesses are the backbone of the Welsh economy and Plaid Cymru wants to attract as many of them to Wales as possible.


We would do this by pushing for targeted tax discounts for new and existing businesses as part of a new UK Regional Policy.


We will also demand Wales has the power to set its own rates of tax, including R&D tax credits, employers’ national insurance contributions, and the Patent Box – to help make Wales a more attractive place for enterprise, job creation and investment.


We also will put an end to the unfair business rates system by moving towards a turnover-based system.


We will involve the private sector and its representative bodies in providing business support and advice aimed at small businesses (less than 10 employees) by strengthening the current Business Wales network. We will also pass a Regulatory Reform Act to lower the bureaucratic burden on business.


Read the Plaid Cymru manifesto


 


SDLP


Quote from manifesto


“Every vote for the SDLP is a vote representing the different future which we all voted for last June. We are a party with Europe at our core – we are the party best able and best connected to defend the interests of our businesses and people across the North. Those who placed a Remain vote in ballot boxes last June should carry through with that decision and vote SDLP this June.”


Read the SDLP’s Manifesto


 


Ulster Unionist Party


Alan Chambers, the Ulster Unionist Party economy spokesperson


Micro-business owners should vote for the Ulster Unionist Party because we have and will continue to be in the vanguard of trying to establish devolved institutions in Northern Ireland to deliver the political stability, which will allow all sizes of business to grow and proposer.


Politicians are not wealth generators – business people are. Our first priority is for political stability and the return of workable devolved government to Northern Ireland. That political stability will only return with more Ulster Unionist MLAs and MPs returned to elected positions to implement common sense, pragmatic policies.


In policy terms, the Ulster Unionist Party believe in free enterprise but with a role for government in terms of light touch interventions and regulations, to encourage successful businesses to reinvest their profits in the economy.


Our MPs opposed the proposed rise in National Insurance Contributions for the self-employed announced and then withdrawn after the Spring Budget. We will continue to oppose this regressive tax in the new Parliament.


We support increasing the NI Employer Allowance to £10,000 for SME start-ups on a UK-wide basis and simplifying the non-domestic rates system, permitting reduced rates for start-up businesses, allowing credit for investment and R&D.


Read the UUP manifesto


 


Green Party of England and Wales


Rachel Collinson, Business spokesperson


The Green Party is proud to say we will put micro-businesses first before huge global corporations.


We know it’s tough to do business right now. The laws of economics and current Tory policy are all stacked against you.


For example, if you miss one tax payment, bailiffs from HMRC are there in a flash. But if multinationals avoid paying tax altogether, the chancellor invites them to a plush hotel room to ‘negotiate’. Who can compete with that?


The Tories don’t seem to realise that if people spend money in a big chain store, much of it ends up in offshore tax havens. But if customers spend money with you, you’re more likely to spend it locally, boosting our economy.


Greens will bring in People’s Venture Capital; a monthly cash payment to all citizens; no strings attached, no questions asked.


We’ll also simplify tax, abolishing employer NI contributions. We’ll stop the quarterly tax reporting plan. We’ll set up community banks to offer better loan deals to small businesses, too.


There’s so much more I could say, including on VAT, procurement, benefits for parents, Brexit… So please do follow @rachel_shares to be the first to read our business manifesto when it launches.


Read the Green Party’s Manifesto


 


Micro-businesses matter


At Crunch we’ve been calling for the Government to consider the specific impacts of policy changes on micro-businesses.


Our Crunch Chorus homepage contains details on our campaigning on the subjects of the Flat Rate VAT and dividend tax hikes, and changes to public sector IR35.

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