As the nation heads to the polls today, we have put together a summary of business-related points from each of the main parties’ manifestos:
Labour’s most infamous election pledge is to raise National Insurance by 1% from 2011, a move that has led to protests from business leaders but which the incumbent Government insists is necessary for the economic recovery to continue. Labour’s manifesto also outlines job creation measures, including 200,000 jobs that are to be funded by a £1bn Future Jobs Fund. Young people who are out of work for six months or more will be offered a job or training place, but their benefits will be cut at 10 months if they refuse a place.
The Conservatives are fiercely opposed to the idea of raising National Insurance, which they have described as a “jobs tax”. Instead, they have pledged to make new businesses except from NICs for the first 10 employees they hire during their first year (the exemption will last for two years). They also plan to cut the headline rate of corporation tax to 25p and the small companies’ rate to 20p. SMEs will receive a £2,000 bonus for every apprentice they hire, and a Community Learning Fund will help unemployed people restart their careers.
The Liberal Democrats have pledged to raise the personal income tax allowance to £10,000, a move it claims will make the average worker £700 a year better-off. The party’s manifesto also talks about supporting and developing new ways of financing growing businesses, with equity rather than debt, and without relying too heavily on the financial centre of the City of London. The Liberal Democrats also want to use £3.1bn of public spending to create 100,000 jobs.