“Labour has let entrepreneurs down”

“I voted Labour eleven years ago because I truly believed that Gordon Brown was going to be a sensible and intelligent Chancellor,” says Tenison, who founded her £15m-turnover business in the early nineties. “I thought his ideas for small businesses would help us in a way that the later years of the Conservative government did not.”

Ninety-nine stealth taxes later, Tenison has changed her mind. “We’re living in a society where the tax burden on GDP is now nearly ten per cent higher than it was ten years ago. With the cost of consumer goods – clothing in particular – decreasing each year due to what I call the ‘Tesco syndrome’, we’re really struggling to maintain margins.

“The squeeze between rapidly increasing overheads and the lack of inflation in retail prices leaves the employer with a very serious problem. Fortunately, as a private company, we can continue to offer our employees pay rises, where due, by cutting our profit margin and moving some production to lower-cost manufacturing centres. But that’s not part of our ethos – we’d prefer to continue manufacturing here in Europe. And we can’t keep cutting our profits forever.

“The government has taken every opportunity to squeeze the tax payer by using despicably underhand methods. If the great British public truly understood the extent to which they are being deceived, there would be dissatisfaction levels comparable with the poll tax riots under Thatcher.”

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