Palace of Westminster, London. Photo: DAVID ILIFF/ commons.wikimedia
Sophia Taha

Member Article

Election 2015: Lancashire businesses give their opinions

Each week Bdaily will ask businesses from a different area of the North West for their opinions and hopes from the upcoming election and present their views in a weekly roundup.

This week it is the turn of businesses in Lancashire to tell Bdaily their opinions.

Will Campbell, partner at the Lancashire office of accountants and business advisors Beever and Struthers in Blackburn had the following wish list:

“Economic activity – Lancashire requires more new residential housing build stimulus – to follow the tentative low level start proposed with the ‘Help to buy ISA’ – and thereby generating a knock-on stimulus to the wider business community; improvements to road and rail infrastructure to enhance our communication network and therefore boost economic activity at a local level and further Government-driven tax and wider financial and planning incentives to encourage more businesses to relocate and/or expand in key Lancashire locations such as Blackburn and Burnley.

“Stability - an overall majority for either of the main parties/ no minority administration; nail down promptly revised terms, but continuing membership, of the EU.

“Employment – further measures to accelerate reductions in level of youth unemployment such as enhanced promotion of apprenticeships to strike a greater balance with the ongoing emphasis on university degrees as the key to a good career; steps to improve the engineering skills base to provide necessary improvements to productivity levels, and generate wider economic activity; address skills gap with a new training incentive say along the lines of the current successful R&D initiative ie. spend £1 on training and get tax relief on £2.30

“Taxation – early update on the proposed reduction in the future level of AIA =tax relief for plant investment, proposed to reduce from £500k but preferably not below £250k; no smoke and mirrors, with suggested headline income tax reductions from proposed personal allowance hikes, being clawed back via national insurance increases.”

Cassidy + Ashton

Alban Cassidy, chartered town planner and environmental consultant at Cassidy + Ashton, said: “Never has an election appeared to be so finely balanced.

“It is clear that the chances of an overall majority for any one party are now very slim and no doubt traditionalists will argue that this is bad news for the country. I don’t agree. We are not long out of recession and, given what is going on elsewhere in the world, it would not take much for our recovery to be derailed.

“Therefore either a lurch to the right with an early referendum on Europe or a lurch to the left with increased borrowing could easily damage the economy and lead to reduced growth and a further increase in the deficit.

“To my mind we therefore need to keep in the centre, taking a balanced and pragmatic view on all matters rather than an ideological one on a few. For this reason we need a calm influence in what will no doubt be another coalition.”

Love Energy Savings

Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings said: “Very little has been said about the energy market and why the fall in oil prices has not been reflected in the cost of one’s energy bills.

“A major pillar of Labour policy is a promise to freeze-energy prices and abolish OFGEM, it is strange that this government’s budget avoided the difficult question of ‘Big Six monopoly’ and resulting energy poverty for the poorest in the UK.

“Nothing has been said about energy poverty which is a direct result of energy prices not reflecting the wholesale trends.”

“It is down to businesses and consumers to ensure they are fully informed when it comes to the parties and their stances on energy and we will certainly be wanting to hear more on the matter as the debates progress”

Next week Bdaily will look for opinions and comments from businesses in the Merseyside area. Are you a local business? Get in contact and tell us your opinions, comments, or wish lists for the 2015 election.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sophia Taha .

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