With the Conservative Party winning a majority of seats in the House of Commons the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says that the result of a majority government brings the hope of stability for small firms.
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said “Small business owners will be hoping that today’s result helps to bring stability back to the economy. After more than three years of Brexit absorbing government bandwidth, the Conservative Party has pledged to tackle the many domestic challenges that have been neglected during that time.
“In the coming weeks, we’ll see a Queen’s Speech and steps towards leaving the EU next month. Amid this, small businesses the length and breadth of the UK will be looking to the new government to achieve positive change for small firms in its first 100 days, not least with the publication of a pro-business Budget in early February.
“Delivery of the Conservative Party’s campaign pledges to us must now become an urgent government priority. The new government has listened to small businesses on bread and butter issues. It’s now time to turn kind words into tangible action.
“This government needs to deliver a business-friendly Brexit, one that protects the three t’s: trade, talent and a proper transition. The third of those is absolutely critical. We have to avoid a scenario where we suddenly crash out of the EU with no time for small firms to prepare for what’s coming next.”
The FSB says during the Conservatives election campaign, it has committed to helping small firms by:
- Ending the late payment crisis through introducing a reform package put on pause by the election.
- Extending and expanding existing business rates discounts, while launching a full review of the hugely burdensome business rates system.
- Launching a self-employment review to help those struggling to access pensions and mortgages.
- Delivering full-fibre, gigabit broadband.
Commenting on the General Election 2019 result from a Consumer Credit perspective Stephen Jones, Chief Executive of UK Finance, said: “After months of stagnation and political impasse, the Prime Minister has been given a clear mandate. It is vital the government now focuses energy on delivering the Withdrawal Agreement and building an environment for a strong economy that encourages investment and confidence for businesses and consumers right across the UK. The banking and finance sector plays a vital role in our economy, employing over half a million people and providing essential services to millions of consumers and businesses, so it’s important the government enables an environment where competition in the industry can thrive.
“As this election campaign has shown, there are many shared challenges that the government and business must work together to address. From ensuring a just transition to a carbon-neutral economy to tackling the growing threat of fraud and economic crime, it is important that progress is now made to address these issues.”
Martijn van der Heijden, Chief Strategy Officer at mortgage broker, Habito said “The Conservative Party returning to government with a significant majority today will be welcome news for some in the housing market, which has suffered from on-going political and economic uncertainty in recent months. Others though will likely sound caution, given the Party that has already spent 9 years in office.”
“The Secretary of State responsible for housing will have fundamental challenges to grapple with, including lack of affordability, the effects of a stagnating market and a lack of innovation in both mortgage products and the house-buying process, which has excluded many would-be homeowners from getting on the ladder.”
“The Conservative Party made some bold election pledges to appeal to both those with a home, and young people with aspirations of buying, with promises for longer-term fixed-rate mortgages offering greater financial security and stability around mortgage costs. However, further pledges on housing policy weren’t the most imaginative: a million more homes of all types, “fairer” shared ownership and “more support” for first-time buyers. They are the right themes for an effective housing strategy, but need a lot more detail, ambition and focus to be brought to life.”
“The flagship pledge from the Conservatives on housing was a lifetime fixed-rate mortgage promising to protect customers from longer interest rate risks and make mortgages more affordable. Although a novel idea for the UK market, products with long term fixed rates and low Early Repayment Charges (ERC) are common in France and The Netherlands, where they have helped bring stability and affordability to the market. Replicating this in the UK could therefore be a welcome step in the right direction. However, in the UK, products such as these have been almost unheard of due to banking regulation and very high switching penalties. Where longer-term fixed products like this do exist, in the US and the Netherlands, those governments have had to work closely with industry to implement them with effect. Exactly how a future Conservative government would implement such a pledge is yet unclear.”
“Perhaps the single biggest concern is that looking ahead to 2020 and the coming Parliamentary timetable, housing is likely going to struggle to make it to the top of a very busy priority list, as Parliament grapples with January’s Brexit deadline and the new political landscape following this general election. Until the time is found to resolve the core issues around affordability and accessibility, fundamental barriers to many people’s dream of homeownership will remain.”
Whilst John Phillips, National Operations Director at Just Mortgages, said “The political deadlock of the last few years has finally been broken. Whatever anybody may think of the result, we now have some clarity around Brexit at long last and that should help bring more certainty to people thinking about buying or selling homes, and to investors. The government has a majority now not just to ‘get Brexit done’, as we’ve been hearing during the election, but to get on with some of the other issues that have been holding the country back.”
“There’s been plenty of talk from Boris’s camp – going back to his leadership campaign earlier in the year – about reforming the planning system, getting more houses built and lowering the burden of stamp duty on the higher-value end of the market. He now needs to make good on that talk.”