In a nation of shopkeepers, any party that expects to represent the nation, needs to represent shopkeepers as well.

That’s why MPs have been busy visiting convenience stores, pledging business rate reforms and announcing other policies targeted at small businesses.

To help retailers decided which party manifesto is best for their business, we’ve compared the Conservative, Greens, Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos (the SNP manifesto is not yet released), and reduced these 100 page documents to just the key points on key business topics. Business rates, tax, wages, employment law, regulation, crime and small business.

Business rates

business rates rises

“We know that the business rates system presents considerable challenges to some smaller companies. That is why we have supported those businesses most affected by the recent revaluation of business rates. That is not all we will do. We will make longer term reforms to the system to address concerns about the way it currently works.

We will make sure that revaluations are conducted more frequently to avoid large changes to the bills that businesses face, and explore the introduction of self-assessments in the valuation process. To ensure the system is sustainable for the future we will also conduct a full review of the business rates system to make sure it is up to date for a world in which people increasingly shop online.”

No comment on business rates

“Introduce a package of reforms to business rates – including switching from RPI to CPI indexation, exempting new investment in plant and machinery from valuations, and ensuring that businesses have access to a proper appeals process – while reviewing the entire business rates system in the longer run.”

Liberal Democrats
“Reviewing the Business Rates system, prioritising reforms that recognise the development of the digital economy, lessening the burden on smaller businesses, and ensuring high streets remain competitive. We will also consider the implementation of Land Value Taxation.”

Do it: Read more on business rates

Minimum Wage

salary calculatorConservatives
“A new Conservative government will continue to increase the National Living Wage to 60% of median earnings by 2020 and then by the rate of median earnings, so that people who are on the lowest pay benefit from the same improvements in earnings as higher paid workers.”

We would scrap age-related wage bands and raise the national minimum wage level to living wage levels for all.”

“Reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid, and increase the minimum wage to reach a genuine living wage of £10 an hour by 2020.”

“Raise the Minimum Wage to the level of the Living Wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – for all workers aged 18 or over, so that work pays.”

Liberal Democrats
“Encourage the creation and widespread adoption of a ‘good employer’ kitemark covering areas such as paying a living wage, avoiding unpaid internships and using name-blind recruitment to make it easier for customers and investors to exercise choice and influence.”

Employment law

Independent convenience retail

“A new Conservative government will act to ensure that the interests of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those people working in the ‘gig’ economy are all properly protected.

The bill will convert EU law into UK law, allowing businesses and individuals to go about life knowing that the rules have not changed overnight.”

We will end the scandal of working poverty by phasing in a 4-day working week, abolishing exploitative zero hours contracts, upholding trade union rights, and ensuring that everyone is paid a living wage.”

Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent – so that working conditions are not driven down. Ban zero hours contracts – so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week.”

“Propose four new public holidays – bringing our country together to mark our four national patron saints’ days. These will be additional to statutory holiday entitlement so that workers in Britain get the same proper breaks as in other countries.”

Liberal Democrats
No comment on employment law

Regulation and Licensing

minimum unit pricing

“We will ensure that commissioners sit on local health and wellbeing boards, enabling better co-ordination of crime prevention with local drug and alcohol and mental health services.”

No comment on regulation or licensing issues

We will make a concerted effort to address poor childhood oral health in England. Labour will implement the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, commonly known as the ‘sugar tax’. We will implement a strategy for the children of alcoholics based on recommendations drawn up by independent experts. Labour will implement a Tobacco Control Plan, focusing on issues of mental health and young smokers.”

“We renew our pledge not to extend VAT to food, children’s clothes, books and newspapers, and public transport fares.”

Lib Dems
Introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol, subject to the final outcome of the legal challenge in Scotland.”

“Develop a strategy to tackle childhood obesity, including restricting the marketing of junk food to children, restricting TV advertising before the 9pm watershed and closing loopholes in the sugary drinks tax.”

“Introduce mandatory targets on sugar reduction for food and drink producers.”

“Reduce smoking rates, introducing a levy on tobacco companies so they fairly contribute to the costs of health care and smoking cessation services.”


Retail crime featured heavily in the Independent Retail Report

“We will widen the role of police and crime commissioners to help them cut crime for their local communities.”

No comment made on crime

Labour will recruit 10,000 more police officers to work on community beats, equivalent to at least one more for every neighbourhood in the country. We will ensure appropriate support is provided to victims of crime and introduce legislation for minimum standard entitlements to service from criminal justice agencies.”

Liberal Democrats
Increase community policing in England and Wales by giving an additional £300 million a year to local police forces to reverse the increase in violent crime, boost community confidence and increase the flow of community intelligence.”

Full manifestos

Do it: Go out and vote on June 8