Small business sees red but won't vote Labour

Nearly three quarters of the British small business community believes the Government does not understand its needs in the slightest and more than 40% are not even able to name a single benefit that Labour has brought their firms in the last four years, new research has revealed.

Seventy three per cent of owners and managers questioned by specialist business cashflow provider Bibby Financial Services gave the Government a bad report for its last term in power, scoring its small business performance at less than five out of 10.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for Labour as 36% of respondents recognised the party has done a good job keeping the economy stable. The Tories, however, are unquestionably the party for the small business community with more than a third (36%) saying they have the best policies for businesses and a third (33%) admitting Mr Howard and his candidates will have their support come May 5th. Labour attracted nine per cent of the vote and the Liberal Democrats just seven per cent.

One in five owners and managers say they have yet to decide which party will get their vote and 29% played their cards close to their chests by not letting on where their political allegiances lie.

Labour’s success with the economy no doubt contributed to 23% of business people naming Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown as the politician they would most want to work for their firm. Prime Minister Tony Blair took only 11% of the vote while rival party leaders Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy polled just five per cent and three per cent respectively.

A surprise, however, came from colourful Tory MP Boris Johnson who recorded 15% of the vote - the second highest figure. But, for nearly 3 in 10 of those surveyed (27%), one politician working for their company would be one too many.

The key issues that small businesses say will decide who will take up residency at 10 Downing Street are:

1. Economic stability - 23%
2. Tax - 21%
3. Deregulation and red tape - 13%
4. Employment/HR legislation - 12 %
5. The Euro - 8%
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David Robertson, chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, said: “The small business community is a vital part of the electorate and one which each political party should particularly be aware of in their manifestos and campaigning efforts. In terms of feelings from the workplace, there certainly seems to be some swing towards the Tories but Labour has delivered economic stability which 23% of owners and managers say is the number one business issue that will affect the way they will cast their vote on polling day.”


19th April 2005

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