General Election

18th May 2017

General Election: Which manifesto helps TechCo’s ?

With the 8 June general election fast approaching, directors of technology companies will be scanning the main manifestos to consider which party is potentially offering the most useful new policies for their business:

Conservatives (link to 84 page manifesto)

  • Running a balanced budget by the middle of the next decade.
  • Reforming business rates.
  • Reducing red tape.
  • National living wage increased to 60% of median earnings by 2020.
  • Protecting gig economy workers.
  • Further reduce tax evasion, by tougher regulation of tax advisory firms.
  • Make executive pay packages subject to annual shareholder votes.
  • To turn the UK into the most innovative country in the world (via investing at least 2.4% of GDP in R&D within 10 years, aiming for 3% beyond that). Further incentives to be offered under EIS and SEIS share schemes.
  • Creating a £23 billion National Productivity Fund to improve productivity (including R&D).
  • Aiming for 33% of Government spending to be with SME’s by the end of the current Parliament.
  • Developing a Digital Charter, to balance freedoms with protections.
  • By the end of 2017 for 95% of premises to have access to superfast broadband. Further fibre spine connectivity targets beyond that,

Labour (link to 124 page manifesto)

  • Income tax rises for those earning over £80k pa (£80k to £123k @ 45%, >£123k @ 50%).
  • Businesses which pay employees over £300k pa to face a 2.5% surcharge (rising to 5% where pay exceeds £500k pa).
  • Larger corporates to pay corporation tax at 26% instead of the current 19%.
  • Small businesses (turnover < £85k) to be excluded from the planned introduction of Making Tax Digital.
  • £250 billion investment in our transport, energy and digital infrastructure over the next 10 years (including promising superfast broadband to all households by 2022.
  • To appoint a Digital Ambassador, to liaise with technology companies, “to promote Britain as an attractive place for investment and provide support to start ups to grow and prosper in the digital age.”
  • To establish a National Investment Bank, with £250bn of capital, to fill current lending gaps to small higher-risk R&D intensive businesses.
  • To ensure 60% of the UK’s energy by 2020 comes from zero carbon or renewable sources.
  • Aim to spend at least 3% of GDP on R&D by 2030.
  • Banning of zero hours contracts.
  • Raise the minimum wage to the living wage.
  • Banning umbrella companies.

Liberal Democrats (link to 95 page manifesto)

  • A second referendum on whether or not to leave the EU, once Brexit terms have been negotiated.
  • 1p rise in income tax.
  • £100 billion of infrastructure spending.
  • Reform of capital gains taxes (including entrepreneurs relief) and dividend taxes.
  • Increase corporation tax back up to 20%.
  • Ring fence the government spending science budget.
  • Build on the success of Tech City, Tech North and the Cambridge tech cluster with a network across the UK acting as incubators for technology companies.
  • New tax support to encourage the creative industries.
  • Modernise employment rights, to fit in with the gig economy.
  • Banning of zero hours contracts.
  • In 250+ employee listed employers, giving staff the right to request shares.

Quite a few similarities between the parties, but interesting how many times the word ‘Digital’ is mentioned in each manifesto:

  • Conservatives           66
  • Labour                          9
  • Liberal Democrats     8

Blog entry by: Ian Piper

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