TAX relief, access to skilled labour and support for companies after Brexit are among the issues businesses want prioritised in the general election.
Four weeks ahead of polling day, business is waiting for the detail of the political parties’ policies for enterprise.
Angela Piromalli, chairman of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Dorset and managing director of Rock Recruitment, wanted the next government to pay particular attention to young companies.
The IoD is urging all parties to be clear whether they will make a priority of retaining access to the European Investment Fund (EIF), which was worth 2.3 billion euros to UK venture capital funds between 2011 and 2015.
It also wants more tax relief for investment in start-ups and access to overseas talent in the post-Brexit immigration regime.
Ms Piromalli said: “Boosting entrepreneurship has been a UK success story over the last few years, and as we prepare to leave the EU, enabling business to set up and grow will be even more vital.
“Brexit has introduced questions on funding for growing companies. The European Investment Fund has channelled billions to UK firms through venture capital funds, but the future of this stream is in doubt. After the election, we need to know whether the next government will argue to maintain access to the EIF post-Brexit, and if not, how it will make up the shortfall.”
Stephen Mills, office managing partner at Mazars in Poole, and a director of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “In recent times, Dorset businesses have shown themselves to be remarkably resilient and I have confidence in their ability to play with the hand they have been dealt and continue to be successful, throughout what inevitably will continue to be a period of significant uncertainty.
“You can’t de-couple the election from the Brexit process, and probably the biggest plus will be a clear mandate and negotiating position. Local businesses will benefit from policies that make the country a great place to do business.
“This should include measures to improve competitiveness through well thought out and targeted tax incentives, reduced regulation, key infrastructure improvements, and most importantly, the people and skills needed for growth.”
The Federation of Small Businesses is calling on parties to support the UK’s 4.8million self-employed and avoid tax hikes such as a rise in National Insurance.
It has put forward a manifesto of 30 proposals including export vouchers to help small firms reach new markets; a guarantee of the rights of EU citizens to work in the UK; and tackling “supply chain bullying”.
The FSB’s national chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “Brexit is clearly going to feature heavily in the election campaign, and rightly so. But it must not dominate debate at the expense of other important domestic issues for small businesses.”