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Election 2015: Live Update

Our Lawyers Comment On The General Election Result


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Following today’s General Election result which has delivered a majority for the Conservative Party, our lawyers explain what the outcome could mean for businesses and individuals.

Christopher Tutton, Employment Partner

“This result is likely to see a continuation and even an acceleration for reforms which favour businesses. In general, the party said in its manifesto that it is aiming for full employment and wants to cut red tape and lower taxes. During the next parliament, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens to zero-hour contracts as well as tribunal fees, but it is almost certain that the Tories will look to attack the ‘right to strike’ by increasing the thresholds for strike action in the health, transport, fire and education sectors. Allowing employers to use agency workers to cover striking employees and tackling the intimidation of non-striking workers is also likely.

“Although today’s result was far more definitive than many political commentators and business leaders expected, there remains great uncertainty over the European question. Many of our labour laws derive from or are influenced by the EU and if we were to leave, it would result in huge change to our current employment legislation.”  

Oliver Martin, Head of Planning
“Proposals by the Conservatives relating specifically to planning reform were rather thin on the ground, so we may be in for a rather quieter time in that regard compared with the stream of significant changes made by the previous coalition government.”

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Geraldine McCool, Partner and Head of Military Injuries Claims Team

“The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) is due this Summer and it will be interesting to see which the direction the review and in turn our Defence spending will go.

“The headlines in the run up to the election were focused on the Trident nuclear deterrent but there are other military decisions to be made which will need close scrutiny.”

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Chris Rawstron, Head of Corporate

"Businesses wanted certainty from this election and although there is only a small majority for the Conservatives, I expect that the result will help stabilise the economy and enable companies to move forward with purpose. As a result, I think it is likely that we shall see an increase in M&A during the second half of 2015."

Gillian Coverley, Partner and Head of the Wills, Trusts and Estates Team

"It is encouraging that throughout the election campaign the issue has being discussed seriously as the inheritance tax thresholds have become out of step with the values of estates and this is largely as a result of increased property prices over the last few years.

"While we now face a wait to see what policies from the manifesto and pre-election campaign will make it into reality there is still much that can be done to reduce the exposure to Inheritance Tax. Many people are still not properly planning for the future with regard to the finances and assets."

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Simon Griffiths, Corporate Partner

“The Conservative’s victory is a good outcome for the stock market.  The City is now back to business as usual after a few days worrying about a hung parliament.  We expect the relatively high levels of recent M&A and IPO activity to continue.  But these levels are driven primarily by economic factors, not politics."

Roy Beckett, Head of Business Legal Services at Irwin Mitchell in Manchester

“Providing greater power to the North of England was something that all major political parties pushed in their manifestos and a win for the Conservative Party will mean that expectations will be high for the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. Devolution has the potential to deliver greater powers to regional economies and I am pleased to say that businesses in the North have certainly engaged with the recent debate. It is now vital that we don’t lose the momentum that has been gained over the last 12 months and ensure that moves to maximise the opportunities from the Northern Powerhouse in relation to transport, science and innovation are not delayed.”

Rob Thompson, Head of London Real Estate

"Having recovered significantly in the last 2-3 years the commercial and residential property markets are likely to be breathing a sigh of relief at the election result and deals that have been put on hold in the run up to the election can now move forward with more certainty. The coalition has stabilised the economy in the last five years and the Conservative party appears committed to continued economic growth and globally competitive tax rates which should attract further investment domestically and from overseas. There is also the on-going review of business rates which the Conservatives support and the report on this should appear in the 2016 Budget with any recommendations hopefully being implemented swiftly afterwards. Expect also investment in the PRS sector to gather momentum, where the UK lags miles behind the US.

"The only potential storm on the horizon is the looming EU referendum which could create some uncertainty in the market and may unsettle some international investors."

Alex Barnes, Tax Partner

“A win by the narrowest of margins, but the Conservative party won’t care. The electorate have spoken and in large part it is no doubt the Tories record on the economy that has helped to lead them to victory. So what can we now expect in respect of tax for the next five years? The Conservatives pledged not to raise income tax, NICs or VAT until 2020 in their pre-election manifesto and David Cameron said this "five-year-tax lock" would be enshrined in legislation. Whether this was an empty pre-election promise remains to be seen but many have warned it could undermine Britain's fiscal credibility.”

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Nigel Bolton, Pensions Partner

"As the new Conservative Government  is formed following the election it is virtually impossible to predict the exact impact on the pensions industry but the following should be borne in mind:

"Conservatives, like their former Liberal partners, are keen to extend the Freedom and Choice flexibilities to current annuity holders by creating a secondary market for their existing annuities. 

"As announced in the 2015 Budget, the Conservatives plan to reduce the lifetime allowance to £1m from 6 April 2016 with further reductions for those earning more than £150,000.  The annual allowance would be adjusted depending on income with those earning over £210,000 having an annual allowance of only £10,000.

"A pre-election pledge to create a Minister for Consumer Protection whose focus would be on pension charges and the Pensionswise Guidance Service had also been promised it will be interesting to see whether this is delivered in the next term of office."

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