But in terms of political risk it seems there’s another issue which has got FDs rattled.
Last week we polled 90 FDs asking which was the biggest threat to future growth of their business: the Scottish referendum, instability in the Eurozone, a future rise in interest rates or the May 2015 general election.
Initially it looked to be a fairly even split, but after all the votes were counted we found that 38, or 42 per cent, of those asked said that next year’s election was their biggest concern, followed by the Scotland referendum, which was chosen by 22, or 24 per cent, of FDs.
The election presents a number of potential risks to businesses and financial markets. The polls are currently favouring Labour, who are widely regarded as having shifted leftwards since the business-friendly years of Blair and Brown.
Though it has been keen to position itself as “the party of small business” and its shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, is generally well-regarded by industry, a series of announcements on energy, banks, landlords and most recently employment tribunals has sparked concerns.
Even if the polls swing back towards the Conservatives, a tory victory will bring with it the scary prospect of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, a prospect which will be troubling the City and some businesses which trade with the Continent. This prospect has the potential to be heightened by the success of ascendant Ukip, which looks set to gain tis first MP at the Clacton by-election next month.
Perhaps the biggest worry the election brings up though is general uncertainty. Most commentators expect that whichever party is the largest, it is unlikely to win by a convincing margin, raising the prospect of another coalition or, worse, an unstable minority Government.
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