The three most prominent figures in British politics gathered in Birmingham today to pitch to small businesses about what makes them the party to choose ahead of the General Election.
George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband praised small businesses for their hard work and vital role in Britain’s recovery at the FSB annual conference.
Each leader had 45 minutes to outline their ambitions to more than 1,000 delegates, then were grilled in a tough Q&A session by members of the Federation.
But what did the sessions mean for independent convenience retailers? betterRetailing has saved you almost three hours of viewing time and summarised what each party has promised you.
George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer Overall theme: To stay on the right path and not go back to the chaos Sound bite: “The small business minister around the Cabinet table” Plans: Business rates: introduce a ‘radical’ review of business rates by 2017 to analyse the online economy and the high street. Short-term rates plan is to extend the relief system; to cap the rate increase and for businesses on the high street to get a £1,500 rebate. To continue investment outside of London: transport in the south west and business rates in the north of England. To continue the longest duty freeze in more than two decades and save a business over £1,000. To make tax returns easier through a single bill via an online digital account in 2016. Osborne outlined his full plans in the spring Budget Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister Overall theme: stability for the long term plan Sound bite: “You are the lifeblood of our economy – the engine that helps drive our growth” Plans: -Extend the Funding for Lending Scheme, to work with the Bank of England, to make it easier for small businesses to borrow money Increase the time small businesses have to claim Small Business Rate Relief until March 2016 Freeze fuel duty for another year Introduce a Small and Micro Business Assessment, so businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from all new regulations. Prioritise small businesses for any business tax cuts Ed Miliband, Labour party leader Overall theme: To create a dialogue with small businesses Sound bite: “To place small businesses in the heart of the Government" Plans: Freeze energy prices until 2017, so “costs can only fall” as retailers have not seen the decrease in energy prices that their suppliers have Abolish rolling energy contracts that happen without consent Establish a Small Business Administration, similar to America, but he has not promised that the leader will have a place in the cabinet. To cut business rates this year and then freeze the next, saving an estimated £400 for 1.5million businesses To make the HMRC treat large and small companies equally by making taxes fair between the two The national minimum wage will be increased to £8 an hour. A crack down on zero-hour contracts that continue for months at a time.
So, who gets your vote..?