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General Election: Will small businesses make a difference?
by Susie Hughes at 12:45 25/03/05 (Viewpoint)
There is an average of 6,000 small businesses in every constituency. As a General Election looms, will they make a difference?
Several readers of Shout99 have already pointed out that elections are won or lost in a comparitively small number of constituencies. In these marginals a swing vote from one particular interest group could make the difference.

Things can only get better
When Tony Blair swept to power in 1997, his chosen anthem, 'Things can only get better' seemed to ring true for many across the nation.

For many people, there seemed a bright New Labour dawn with the promise to move away from the Thatcher years and the sleaze, which at that time had become so closely associated with the Tories; towards a party returning to socialist principles without the union influence which was many blamed for so many past troubles.

Eight years and a further General Election later - did things get better for the small business community?

'Personal service companies'
There are nearly 3 million small businesses run by the self-employed or owner managers with an estimated combined turnover of 178 billion.

It is this group which has been particularly affected by some of the policies of the Labour Government. And within this group, those who seem to be specifically targeted are the so-called 'personal services companies'.

In 1999, IR35 attempted to reclassify them as 'disguised employees' and tax them in line with permanent employees rather than risk taking businesses.

Section 660 is potentially a greater threat to many husband and wife companies. The Arctic Systems case, which was recently heard at the High Court, will prove crucial to the future of tens of thousands of such businesses. If predictions are correct, then the decision in that case could fall around the same time as the date of the General Election.

General elections are a focused opportunity for single issue groups to motivate support and make their voices heard.

Consider how many column inches and television coverage have been devoted to fox hunting or illegal travellers camps which arguably affect a considerably smaller number of people than IR35 or Section 660.

Yet the small business constituency does not command the interest or exert the influence that other pressure groups or single causes can achieve.

If there are 6,000 small businesses in each constituency and, let's say, three or four people are directly or indirectly influenced by the fortunes of that business, either as the owner, partner or friend, then the number of voters whose intentions are swayed would be more than enough to swing a seat.

Survey
In 1999 a survey of the PCG membership showed that the majority had voted Labour in the 1997 General Election. A year later, a Shout99 suvery of more than 1,000 businessmen and woman, showed that 50 per cent who voted Labour in the 1997 election, said they will change their vote to Conservative or LibDem at the next election; and a further 18 per cent revealed that they would vote tactically for the party most likely to unseat the Labour candiadate.

The latest Shout99 poll of nearly 3,000 small businesses showed support for Labour had fallen further:

If there was an election soon, who would you vote for:

Labour:7 per cent(205)
Conservative:63 per cent(1858)
LibDem:17 per cent(512)
Other:4 per cent(111)
None of the above (NOTA):9 per cent(261)

It will be interesting to watch the forthcoming General Election campaign to see if the small business community is sufficiently motivated to 'make a difference' and whether or not it becomes an agenda item for the main parties.

-- If you wish to comment on this article, please log in and use the Reply button below. Registering is free and easy - see 'Join Shout99'.

- Susie Hughes Shout99.com 2005

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General Election: Will small b... Susie Hughes - 25/03
    Not a sausage radsoft - 26/03
       Re: Not a sausage derekd - 26/03
       Re: Not a sausage rdale - 26/03
          Re: Not a sausage radsoft - 26/03
             Re: Not a sausage rdale - 26/03
       Re: Not a sausage babason - 27/03
          no risk in contracting JonnyComeLately - 27/03
             Could not agree more ! radsoft - 27/03
                we have the right to pay less ... JonnyComeLately - 27/03
          Re: Not a sausage radsoft - 27/03
             Re: Not a sausage babason - 27/03
             Re: Not a sausage anthonyenglish - 27/03
                Re: Not a sausage ashto5 - 29/03
                   Re: Not a sausage anthonyenglish - 29/03
                      Re: Not a sausage radsoft - 29/03
                         Re: Not a sausage ashto5 - 29/03
                            Re: Not a sausage MichaelR - 29/03
                               Re: Not a sausage ashto5 - 30/03
                               Adam Smith Institute calls for... PAULSC - 30/03
       Same old crap New Dawn - 27/03
          Re: Same old crap rdale - 27/03
             Yes radsoft - 27/03
                Presumption New Dawn - 27/03
                   Re: Presumption radsoft - 27/03
                      Which one did you move? New Dawn - 27/03
                         Re: Which one did you move? radsoft - 27/03
                            Re: Which one did you move? New Dawn - 27/03
                               Re: Which one did you move? radsoft - 27/03
                                  Why do i suspect i'll get no r... New Dawn - 27/03
                                     Re: Why do i suspect i'll get ... radsoft - 27/03
                                        Right and Wrong New Dawn - 27/03
                                           Re: Right and Wrong radsoft - 27/03
                                              Re: Right and Wrong New Dawn - 27/03
                                                 Re: Right and Wrong radsoft - 27/03
                                                    Taking Care New Dawn - 27/03
                                                       Re: Taking Care radsoft - 28/03
                                                       Re: Taking Care radsoft - 28/03
                                        Re: Why do i suspect i'll get ... New Dawn - 27/03
                                           Re: Why do i suspect i'll get ... radsoft - 27/03
                                        Re: Why do i suspect i'll get ... anthonyenglish - 28/03
                Re: Yes rdale - 27/03
                   Re: Yes radsoft - 27/03
                      Why can't people be honest ???... New Dawn - 27/03
                         Re: Why can't people be honest... radsoft - 27/03
                            Who? New Dawn - 27/03
                      Re: Yes rdale - 27/03
                         Re: Yes radsoft - 27/03
                            Re: Yes rdale - 27/03
                      Re: Yes anthonyenglish - 28/03
                      Re: Yes - OK I admit it! gloveluc - 29/03
                         Re: Yes - OK I admit it! radsoft - 30/03
                         More honesty .... radsoft - 30/03
                            Re: More honesty .... gloveluc - 30/03
          Re: Same old crap radsoft - 27/03
             Eats shoots and leaves New Dawn - 27/03
                Re: Eats shoots and leaves anthonyenglish - 28/03
    Re: General Election: Will sma... brianc - 28/03
       Did you know? brianc - 28/03
          Re: Did you know? forest - 28/03
             Re: Did you know? radsoft - 28/03
                Re: Did you know? forest - 28/03
                   Re: Did you know? radsoft - 28/03
                      Re: Did you know? forest - 28/03
                         Re: Did you know? radsoft - 28/03
                            Re: Did you know? forest - 28/03
                            Re: Did you know? Auldbreck - 29/03
                               Re: Did you know? Dualnet - 29/03
                                  Re: Ltd Company formation joe-hill - 30/03
                                     Re: Ltd Company formation Dualnet - 30/03
                            Re: Did you know? jojo - 29/03
                               Re: Did you know? radsoft - 29/03
                                  Re: Did you know? anthonyenglish - 29/03
                                     Re: Did you know? radsoft - 29/03
                                        Re: Did you know? anthonyenglish - 29/03
                                  Re: Did you know? jojo - 29/03
                               Re: Did you know? rdale - 29/03
                                  Chip Munching Lefty jojo - 30/03
                                     Consistency if you dont mind. radsoft - 30/03
                                        Re: Consistency if you dont mi... anthonyenglish - 30/03
                                        Re: Consistency if you dont mi... jojo - 30/03
                                  Re: Did you know? radsoft - 30/03
                                     Re: Did you know? anthonyenglish - 30/03
                            Re: Did you know? Dualnet - 29/03
                               Re: Did you know? radsoft - 29/03
                                  Re: Did you know? anthonyenglish - 29/03
                                  Re: Did you know? Dualnet - 29/03
                                     Re: Did you know? anthonyenglish - 29/03
                                        Re: Did you know? Dualnet - 29/03
                                     Re: Did you know? radsoft - 29/03
                                        Re: Did you know? Dualnet - 29/03
                                           So following your logic .... radsoft - 29/03
                                              Re: So following your logic ..... anthonyenglish - 29/03
                                                 Re: So following your logic ..... radsoft - 30/03
                                                    Re: So following your logic ..... Dualnet - 30/03
                                                       Re: So following your logic ..... anthonyenglish - 30/03
                                                          Re: So following your logic ..... jojo - 30/03
                                                    Re: So following your logic ..... anthonyenglish - 30/03
                                                       Brilliant ! radsoft - 30/03
                                                          Re: Brilliant ! anthonyenglish - 30/03
                                                             Re: Brilliant ! radsoft - 30/03
                                                                He isn't bitter jojo - 30/03
                                                                   IT Industry migration New Dawn - 30/03
                                                                      Fixed link New Dawn - 30/03
                                                                         Re: Fixed link radsoft - 30/03
                                                                            Re: Fixed link anthonyenglish - 30/03
                                                                            Beyond the pale New Dawn - 30/03
                                                                               Re: Beyond the pale Dualnet - 30/03
                                                                      Cure is better than Prevention jojo - 30/03
                                                          Consultancies anthonyenglish - 30/03
                                                             Re: Consultancies jojo - 30/03
                                                    Re: So following your logic ..... Dualnet - 30/03
                                        Re: Did you know? jojo - 29/03
                                           Re: Did you know? radsoft - 29/03
                                              Re: Did you know? jojo - 29/03
       Be Accountable robwherrett - 29/03
          Re: Be Accountable Dualnet - 29/03
    Re: General Election: Voluntee... mgrazebrook - 29/03
    And finally ... radsoft - 30/03
       Single Issue jojo - 30/03
          Re: Single Issue radsoft - 31/03
             Re: Single Issue Dualnet - 31/03
                Re: Single Issue radsoft - 31/03
                   Re: Single Issue anthonyenglish - 31/03
                      Re: Single Issue radsoft - 31/03
                         Re: Single Issue anthonyenglish - 31/03
                   Re: Single Issue Dualnet - 31/03
                      Re: Single Issue radsoft - 31/03
                         Re: Single Issue Dualnet - 31/03
                            Re: Single Issue radsoft - 31/03
                               Re: Single Issue Dualnet - 31/03
                         Re: Single Issue anthonyenglish - 31/03
                   And finally Dualnet - 31/03
       Restore faith in human nature? Susie Hughes - 31/03
          Re: Restore faith in human nat... radsoft - 31/03
          Re: Restore faith in human nat... Dualnet - 31/03
 
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