Life (for business) after the general election
4 min read
17 December 2019
So, there we have it, the latest chapter of the UK political farce has been closed. It’s now time for a new story, and it needs to have business as the central character in the plot.
Last week’s general election should be a watershed moment for a country that has been stuck on pause for nearly four years.
Don’t get me wrong, while the government has come out of this with a good majority, the whole thing has been a result of a self-inflicted wound caused by David Cameron slicing a blade right through the middle of Britain by trying to call the country’s bluff over staying in or leaving the European Union.
Moving on from the general election
And as we all know, this election was fought, and won by the Tories, over Brexit.
Now, I will never agree on Brexit with Boris Johnson as I continue to think it’s a fool’s errand and will end up doing the country more damage than good.
However, faced with the prospect of comrade Corbyn and his socialist dystopia, which would have put the economy back to the 1870s let alone the 1970s, a Conservative government is the best option for business.
A ‘time in the sun’ (again) for UK businesses?
Businesses collectively held their breath in the run-up to 12th December, nervous about all sorts of Labour Party plans, including seizing 10% of the equity of every company that was nothing more than a stealth tax dressed up as a benefit to staff, which would have put jobs and investment at risk.
So, with his majority, it’s time for Boris to get to business, both figuratively and literally.
British businesses have been treading water since 2016, but for many, the last 12 months have been more like trying to wade through setting concrete as the uncertainty has become unbearable.
More support for SMEs please…
SMEs need to see from the Government a positive step forward that runs concurrently with whatever they do with Brexit rather than being distracted by leaving the EU. Their first opportunity is a budget in the first couple of months of the New Year, which needs to be very pro-business.
Measures that focus on improving skills, addressing business rates and creating an environment where small and medium business can flourish will help counter the inevitable shockwave that will undoubtedly come from Brexit whatever deal Boris & Co come away with.
But there is something else that needs to happen now the vitriolic ranting of the election is over. In recent months business and more specifically entrepreneurs have been painted as the bad guy, which is having a detrimental effect on the perception of enterprise, particularly among younger people.
Was Labour anti-business?
Labour didn’t help with its policies that would scalp entrepreneurs with a windfall tax, which basically gave people the view that business owners are just greedy and not job-creating, noble individuals that run businesses that are the backbone of the economy.
It’s a misguided narrative that has influenced prejudice against entrepreneurship, which is definitely not healthy for enterprise and the future of the country.
Stand up for entrepreneurship!
To counter this, the government and groups representing businesses have to be a very loud and vocal public voice standing up for entrepreneurship, making clear how important it is to the economy and the future career prospects for a very large part of the population.
Over the next five years of Boris’ term in Downing Street, entrepreneurs will be more vital than ever as we navigate the stormy waters of Brexit – we should be encouraging them, not discrediting them.