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As Managing Director of SiGNAL, I have seen first hand the impact that government policies can have on hardworking SME owners in the UK. As we approach the general election on July 4th let's have a look at the possible impact of a Labour government on business.

A mindset shift

I know that a lot can happen in a short time but for better or for worse, it does now seem inevitable that Labour will win.  Traditionally the majority of  small business owners have been Conservative voters, but will that be the case this time?

In a recent informal poll undertaken by business owner David Pugh, owner of Scrub The Deck,  65% of SME business owners are planning to vote Labour next month. This is unusual and confirms a growing discontent with the Conservatives, perhaps because in recent years they have seemed to lack principle or direction, focusing efforts on populist vote winning tactics and neglecting the business of government. Strong, sensible leadership is what is needed to nurture good relationships with trading partners and support SMEs.

Conservatives, once perceived as champions of hard grafters, now seem to only champion the super rich. Their approach to deregulation, which benefits the wealthy, doesn't ‘trickle down’ to the average person despite their promises. Labour has a great opportunity here to provide reforms that could increase social stability, reduce the gap between rich and poor and start to repair damage to trade done by Brexit.

In the current climate, business owners cannot feel secure enough in their business to scale or make any big decisions.  At SiGNAL, the number of enquiries we’ve received from business owners looking to upscale has dropped significantly over the last few months. People seem less inclined to take risks and who can blame them.

Banks and investors are also increasingly risk averse in uncertain times and that in turn creates a huge barrier for businesses hoping to scale. We’ve written recently about a new government backed loan to encourage banks to lend and I hope that a Labour government will continue to develop these schemes to make capital more easily accessible to businesses of all sizes.

An end to the endless u-turning?

I hope that a Labour government will be tough and decisive, spend sensibly and replace the endless u-turning by the current government with well thought out, systematic economic and social policy that will rebuild trust in UK plc and open up trade with the EU once again.

I also hope that Labour can find its way to rebuilding our all important High Streets and it's been great to see Retail Guru Mary Portas switching to Labour and joining Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves on the campaign trail. This is a subject close to my heart, so more of this in our next blog!

Labour is promising a much needed review of business rates, an easier, more accessible public tender process for smaller businesses and a clamp down on late payments. All of this is very welcome.

Labour's plans also include a focus on skills training through Technical Excellence Colleges, good news for technical employers who struggle to fill positions currently.

A sense of optimism

Overall, I feel a sense of optimism as the election approaches. Labour's commitment to reforming business rates and their broader support for SMEs offers hope for a more stable and supportive business environment. The need for strong leadership, clear policies, and reliable support for small businesses is more critical than ever as we navigate these challenging times.

So there is plenty of good news for business owners as this particular run of Tory administration draws to its painful end. Personally, I will not miss them! Perhaps Labour, once the party of the working classes, will now reinvent itself as the party of the entrepreneurial classes? It’s quite a mind shift, I agree. But at the moment Labour is the best chance we have for a stable economy and a good investment environment.

Written by Emma Selby, MD of SiGNAL

See Emma’s latest Linked in post HERE