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General Election: What the parties say

With the General Election just days away, AM looks at what the three main parties are promising businesses, workers and motorists.

Labour promises to:

  • Create the Finance for Growth Fund, which will have £4 billion to help businesses looking to develop and grow.
  • Create the Growth Capital Fund to help SMEs that need capital injections of between £2 and £10 million.
  • Ensure business taxation will be “competitive” and capital allowances will be increased.
  • Extend the Time to Pay scheme, which allows firms to defer tax and NICs payments
  • Appoint a Small Business Credit Adjudicator with powers ensuring SMEs are not turned down unfairly when applying for finance
  • Reduce the costs of regulation by more than £6 billion by 2015.
  • Establish a Green Investment Bank to invest in low-carbon infrastructure.
  • Commit to a new high-speed rail line.
  • Commit to major investment in existing rail services
  • Extend hard-shoulder running on motorways, alongside motorway widening including the M25.
  • Increase penalties on utilities that overrun on road works.
  • Rule out the introduction of national road pricing in the next Parliament.
  • Ensure there are 100,000 electric vehicle charging points by the end of the next Parliament.
  • Widen employee share ownership and creating more employee-owned and trust-owned businesses.
  • Encourage employers to make greater use of pay reviews and equality checks
  • Ensure the National Minimum Wage rises at least in line with average earnings
  • Introduce more advanced apprenticeships and Skills Accounts for workers to upgrade their skills.
  • Create flexible paternity leave and flexible working for older workers
  • End default retirement at 65

Conservatives promise to:

  • Hold an emergency budget within 50 days of taking office
  • Introduce a fiscal policy to keep interest rates lower for longer.
  • Restore the link between the basic state pension and average earnings
  • New businesses will pay no Employers National Insurance on the first 10 employees it hires during its first year.
  • Ensure greater availability of credit for SMEs.
  • Give “strong backing” to the growth industries that generate high-quality jobs
  • Make small business rate relief automatic
  • Set out a five-year road map for the direction of corporate tax reform
  • Create an independent Office of Tax Simplification to suggest reforms to the tax system.
  • Reduce the number of forms needed to register a new business
  • Allow councils to keep above-average increases in business rate and give them new powers to introduce further discounts on business rates
  • Commit to a high speed rail line
  • Support sustainable travel initiatives and helping cut work-related travel.
  • Stop central government funding for new fixed speed cameras
  • Authorise ‘drugalyser’ technology for use in testing for drug-driving.
  • Make companies that dig up roads accountable for the congestion they cause
  • Consult on the introduction of a ‘Fair Fuel Stabiliser’ to cut fuel duty when oil prices rise, and vice versa.
  • Establish a new electric car recharging network.
  • Force equal pay audits on companies discriminating on the basis of gender.
  • Create 400,000 work pairing, apprenticeship, college and training places
  • Give SMEs a £2,000 bonus for every apprentice they hire
  • Introduce a new system of flexible parental leave
  • Look at abolishing the default retirement age and bring forward the date at which the state pension age starts to 66
  • Introduce a ‘bonus’ tax, reduced tax relief on pensions for the best off, a new 50p tax rate on earnings over £150,000 and a one penny increase on National Insurance Contributions.

Lib Dem key points

  • Introduce a one-year economic stimulus and job creation package.
  • Create an Infrastructure Bank to direct private finance to projects such as new rail services
  • Get the banks lending responsibly again
  • Support the establishment of Local Enterprise Funds to help local investors put money into growing local businesses 
  • Support the establishment of Regional Stock Exchanges for businesses to easily access equity
    • Reduce the burden of unnecessary red tape.
  • Reform business rates, basing them on site values rather than rental values
  • Make small company relief automatic and seek to ensure that the burden is spread more equitably between small and large businesses.
  • Cut rail fares
  • Investing in local rail improvements, such as opening closed rail lines
  • Set up a UK Infrastructure Bank to invest in public transport like high speed rail.
  • Work through the EU for a zero emissions target for all new cars by 2040 and extend targets to other vehicles.
  • Prepare for the introduction of a system of road pricing in a second parliament.
  • Introduce a rural fuel discount scheme which would allow a reduced rate of fuel duty to be paid in remote rural areas, as is allowed under EU law.
  • No income tax on the first £10,000 of earnings
  • Tax relief on pensions only at the basic rate
  • Extend the right to request flexible working to all employees.
  • Introduce fair pay audits for every company with over 100 employees
  • Allow parents to share the allocation of maternity and paternity leave between them
  • Restore the link between the basic state pension and earnings and scrap compulsory retirement ages

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