Underwhelming Vote For Any Major Political Party According To Survey Of Businesses

But Calls To Address Housing And Business Rates Issues Remain Strong


Karen Roberts, Press Officer | 0207 400 8714

A survey produced by the real estate team of law firm Irwin Mitchell among senior decision makers at over 250 companies across the country found businesses unimpressed with the political leadership in the country as we approach the Election.

When asked which party would be the best for business,  most of those canvassed would not give a view and of those that did 56.5% said that they did not think any party would be particularly good for business. There were however twice as many votes for the Conservatives than for Labour  with the Conservatives receiving 27.3% of the vote, Labour 13%, Lib Dems 2.5%, Coalition 0.6% and none for UKIP.

The Second Survey of Office Occupiers by Irwin Mitchell, also canvassed views on what emphasis the new Government should put on key business topics. 62% of those canvassed made alleviating the housing shortage a top priority, as did 56% of those asked their views on tackling business rates reform. 44% said improving infrastructure and transport should also be a top priority and 42% put tackling environment and climate change into this bracket also. Interestingly introducing the Mansion Tax was seen as the least of the top priorities with more people giving it a low priority rating than any other. 30% of our survey also felt tackling the North/South Divide was key.

The survey also canvassed attitudes to planning issues with  45% of the businesses surveyed who had engaged in the planning system within the past five years, revealing that they think the system could be made more efficient, calling for greater simplicity and speed, streamlining, reducing time and bureaucracy and generally being more consistent.

The new Government is called upon to devolve more planning power, bolster local authority planning teams and  to increase expenditure on infrastructure and transport. However two areas that are not considered a high priority by businesses are scrapping HS2 or increasing air capacity. The abolition of CIL was seen an important priority by over 36% of those canvassed.

On the whole however there is obviously some appetite for change with 81% of the occupiers saying the new Government should tackle all these planning issues,  indicating that whoever gets to power next week will certainly have its hands full on the planning front.

Expert Opinion
“Our survey shows that businesses are not over- enthusiastic about whoever gets into power but whoever does should make sure sorting the current housing shortage is high on the agenda. Businesses are concerned, particularly in London, about their ability to recruit key workers when rents and housing are so expensive and in short supply. Whether extending “right to buy” to Housing Association tenants, as pledged by the Conservatives or introducing rent controls, as promised by Labour, will solve the problem that not enough houses are being built, is yet to be seen.”
Paul Firth, Partner
Expert Opinion
“Whoever gets into power must also grasp Business Rates reform. We cannot carry on with this antiquated system much longer and since the main parties are all committed to reform, hopefully a fairer system will come into place later in the year- a good move for UK plc.”
Rob Thompson, Partner