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What the Parties Are Promising – General Election 2019

These are some of the main proposals for the small business sector in the manifestoes:

The Conservatives

  • getting Brexit done so that the country can focus on everything else that needs to happen; leaving the EU will allow a review of regulations on business aiming to make them more business-friendly
  • review of business rates to support the high street
  • wider tax reform to achieve simplification, no increases in income tax, VAT or National Insurance; increase R&D tax credits
  • improving the situation of the self-employed, with a review focusing on access to finance, tax and support for home workers
  • improve start-up finance for small businesses, greater recognition for women and BAME entrepreneurs
  • a new £3 billion National Skills Fund focused on SMEs, with the reform of the apprenticeship levy and matched funding available for those from the SME sector undertaking training
  • strengthening the office the small business Commissioner to clamp down further on late payment and ensuring that government both pays small businesses on time and the same small businesses get a fair crack at government procurement, supporting and encouraging flexible working, strengthening maternity/paternity leave and rights of unpaid carers; giving the right for workers in the gig economy to require a more predictable contract
  • beefed-up specialist tax evasion unit
  • a Digital Services Act, amongst other things to focus on irregularities in digital retail
  • Conservative and Unionist Party manifesto for the 2019 UK general election.


  • a new Brexit deal, followed by a further referendum by next July; with a Labour government mandated to follow result of the referendum
  • deal major reforms of the apprenticeship levy to make sure it is spent on accredited training; larger businesses will be a transfer on use funds to smaller ones
  • promise that no one who earns less than £80,000 will pay more tax, focus on taxing wealth rather than income, no increase in VAT
  • consider replacing business rates by a land value tax
  • reform of the Companies Act to force companies to focus on longer-term growth
  • increased minimum wage to at least £10 an hour for all workers, but with help for small businesses
  • through a new ministry for employment rights ending what it calls bogus self-employment in, for instance, gig economy; zero hour contracts to be banned and anyone doing more than 12 hours a week having a right to have a contract of employment
  • New protections and help for the self-employed
  • new equality rights with more paid maternity and paternity leave an extra pregnancy protection
  • Tough new measures against late payers, including being banned from public contracts
  • minimising reporting requirements for those below the VAT threshold
  • free fast broadband for everyone
  • Business Development Agency to provide direct and free support to start-ups
  • crackdown on tax avoidance and reform of tax reliefs
  • supporting the high street by stopping bank branch closures and giving local government the power to use empty shops
  • Labour Party manifesto for the 2019 UK general election.

Liberal Democrats

  • stopping Brexit
  • tougher planning rules on high Street to stop conversion of retail to other uses
  • business rates replaced by a land value tax on commercial sites; the owner pays rather than the retailer, more money for the Future High Streets Fund
  • Start-up allowances for new businesses
  • focusing on equity capital and long-term investment for growing businesses, through the reform of the British Business Bank; with a special focus on drawing in new growing businesses rather than being a lender of last resort and a focus on digital
  • protecting the position of those in insecure employment and ensuring that normal employment rights are extended to them; including former flexible working, a “genuine living wage”. Also establishing a new status of “dependent contractor” with clearly established rights.
  • Tax simplification, particularly to support small businesses, ending retrospective changes
  • Corporation tax of 20% but keeping that rate stable
  • Liberal Democrats’ manifesto for the 2019 UK general election.