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General election 2017 could make entrepreneurs as rare as hen’s teeth

Throughout the 1970s, entrepreneurs were as rare as hen’s teeth. Then, when our country made the historic decision to elect its first female prime minister, that all changed.
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Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power in 1979 brought about the start of a more independent workforce, and we were shown that we could make our own way in the world. An opportunity before us once more with the general election 2017.

Today, the UK’s five million small businesses are the backbone of our economy. So following the general election on 8 June, whoever gets elected must make sure that the needs of entrepreneurs are at the forefront of any policy and decision making, not just an afterthought.

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Although Brexit issues are sure to dominate the general election 2017, everyone has their own ideas of what they hope to see in each party’s manifesto. Business institutions and individuals, rightly so, are making sure that they have their say.

After the chancellor’s Budget u-turn on National Insurance, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) wants to make sure that the current contribution level for the self-employed stays the same. It also wants to see another freeze for top rate income tax payers, on fuel duty and a thorough overhaul of VAT.

In the process of our departure from the European Union, the FSB want to seek new export opportunities, by using vouchers to explore new markets and by introducing the possibility of website translations to aid international trade.

There’s also concern that whoever comes into power after the general election 2017 won’t protect vehicle reliant businesses, from the self-employed van man to larger fleet owners like Pimlico Plumbers, from a diesel vehicle pollution crackdown.

Or over the protection of smaller businesses from large firms paying late, which as a business owner and a victim of late payments, I know can be hugely damaging.

If Brexit does bring the UK a new and improved sense of liberation and independence, as we’re all now hoping it will, our future government needs to make sure that the UK is a great place to do business.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), like the FSB, want our government to prioritise trade and jobs in EU negotiations and to commit to long term industrial strategy, skills, innovation and infrastructure.

To do this effectively, whilst incorporating the new apprenticeship levy and living wage already set in place, the British Chamber of Commerce has said that they don’t want to see any new upfront taxes until 2022.

These aren’t exactly roaring, abhorrent demands for our leaders to contend with, and our political figures must pay mind to what our businesses need to succeed. When looking towards the future, upsetting and diminishing our entrepreneurial businesses can only have lasting repercussions for our newly-independent country. 

It’s no secret that small businesses have sided with the Conservatives in the past and that’s down to the fact that they’ve been the most supportive. We don’t want our businesses being dragged around by the scruff of our neck or locked in a red tape maze with no exit; we want to have a fighting chance in making sure our livelihoods last.

To keep our army of entrepreneurs growing after the general election 2017, we need a strong government and to entrust our businesses to a safe pair of hands. This can only be Theresa May and the Conservatives.

We can’t let the so-called everyman, Jeremy Corbyn, trying to please all, but fooling no one, and his pack of Labour loonies, flush us down the toilet and back to the 1970s.

Image: Shutterstock

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About Author

Charlie Mullins

Charlie Mullins, also an OBE, is the archetypal entrepreneur – having started his business from scratch and then building it into a multi-million pound enterprise. From humble beginnings growing up on an estate in South London, he left school with no qualifications, but after a four-year plumbing apprenticeship he started his own firm, Pimlico Plumbers, which now generates a turnover in excess of £30m and boasts many well-known names among its many clients including Simon Cowell, Helen Mirren and Richard Branson. He has been a regular contributor on Real Business since 2011 and is particularly about apprenticships.

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