Leaders square off for final time tonight

Tonight’s economic debate is being billed as the most important of the three televised debates, and as the incumbent, Gordon Brown will no doubt face some tough questions.

So what are the likely questions he will face?

The case for Brown, Cameron and Clegg listening to UK plc’s – or UK Ltd’s – concerns is strong. Small businesses are the bread and butter of the UK economy, employing over 13.7m people and accounting for 50 per cent of GDP.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) asked its members what the key issues they want to see debated – here is what they want to see addressed:

  • the planned one per cent increase in National Insurance contributions
  • improving employment prospects through the SME sector
  • increasing access to finance for SMEs
“We have sent briefing papers in advance of the debate to the offices of all three party leaders. These three key issues – tax, employment and access to finance – must be addressed by the party leaders if we are to carry on the road to recovery and avoid a double-dip recession,” says John Walker, national chairman of the FSB.

Research by the FSB shows that economic recovery is continuing, but that it remains fragile, with many UK businesses working below capacity and holding back from hiring new staff. In fact, one in four businesses even expect the situation to worsen over the next three months.

So what do you want to hear the leaders debate tonight? What is the big keep-you-up-at-night issue? Leave your comments below, and be sure to tune in to BBC One at 20.30 to watch the debate.

Also make sure you fill out our survey, looking at what you want from the next government, which will be discussed at our Entrepreneurs’ Summit on May 12.

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