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Business chiefs back Tories

Sarah Davidson

April 1, 2015

In a letter to The Telegraph the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition was praised for supporting investment and job creation.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne meanwhile were both praised for progressively lowering Corporation Tax to 20%.

Ray Boulger, senior technical manager of John Charcol, said: “It’s generally recognised by businesses that the Conservatives are much more business-friendly than Labour.

“The most important factor for businesses is the general strength of the economy and while both parties have still got to spell out some details of their cuts the Tories have spelt out more than Labour.

“If you are in business you want the economy to be as strong as possible as consumers have more money to spend.”

Labour’s shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna hit back, as he said: “No one will be surprised that some business people are calling for low taxes for big businesses. That’s nothing new and under Labour Britain will have the most competitive corporation tax rate in the G7.

“Whilst the recovery may have reached some firms it hasn’t reached many others which is why we will prioritise tax cuts for the smallest firms with an immediate cut in business rates for 1.5 million small business premises.‎

“And because we understand that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed ‎we are today announcing our plans to ban exploitative zero hour contracts.

“We don’t believe, as David Cameron does, in more tax cuts for the richest in society – the priority is tax cuts for small firms, working people and saving our NHS.”

The letter was signed by BP chief executive Bob Dudley and Associated British Foods chief George Weston. It was also backed by five business leaders who previously supported Labour, including Sir Charles Dunstone, the chairman of Dixons Carphone and Talk Talk, and former Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne.

Labour recently featured a number of company bosses in an advertisement about leaving the EU, prompting a backlash from some business chiefs.

Though some businesses are pro staying in the EU, Boulger reckons smaller businesses are more likely to support an exit due to the amount of red tape imposed from Brussels.

He added: “The fact they are backing the Tories is indicative that they don’t see having an EU referendum as a major problem.

“If you are pro democratic it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t want to have referendum on the EU. There are clearly lots of pros and cons to be debated.

“You get all this talk about putting 3 million jobs at risk for leaving the EU, but while there will be some negatives there will be some positives.”

Ultimately Boulger doesn’t think the letter will hold too much sway on the average voter, as he said: “I’m not convinced that a group of businesses promoting Tories will have much impact on how people vote anyway.”


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