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Telegraph Business Tracker: Britain’s Small Businesses Overwhelmingly Reject Tory Manifesto

Thu, 25 May 2017  |   Insights


By Tim Wallace, Economics Correspondent:  Theresa May's manifesto risks losing the Conservatives their image as the party of business, The Daily Telegraph can disclose, after Britian’s small companies overwhelmingly rejected their policies and questioned the lack of costing in the policy diktat.

A vanishingly small proportion of companies support the manifesto, while the Prime Minister’s mantra of “strong and stable leadership” achieves only modest backing.

Instead, small firms are distressed by the recent U-turn on social care costs – which Mrs May insisted “clarified” the proposals – and by the Conservatives’ failure to fully explain how the party seeks to fund its policies.

Of the messages studied, 51pc showed a negative reaction to the Conservative policies. Another 41pc gave neutral comment while just 8pc posted positive messages about Tory pledges.

The biggest worry among Britain’s small- and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) is that the policies have not been costed. In contrast with previous Conservative focus on reducing the deficit, this manifesto has faced claims that the party has lost its focus on finances.

Complaints that the manifesto was not costed made up 34pc of all the negative comments, making it by far the biggest source of dissatisfaction. The next biggest complaint reflected this week’s social care U-turn, when the Tories changed their key social care promise four days after announcing it.

After initially indicating that elderly recipients of social care would have to pay their costs until the net value of their assets – including their home – fell to £100,000, Mrs May changed tack and said there would also be a cap on the total amount any individual would have to pay towards their care.

“We will come forward with a consultation paper and that consultation will include an absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs,” she said earlier this week.

“We are proposing the right funding model for social care. We will make sure nobody has to sell their home to pay for social care. We will make sure there is an absolute limit on what people need to pay.”

However, she did not detail the level at which the cap would be set.

The research, which was undertaken from May 18-24, shows that SMEs also object to a series of other policies, but in relatively low numbers, indicating that there are a range of unpopular ideas in the manifesto, without a single solution to address the complaints.

A smaller proportion of companies note that the manifesto represents an “assault on free markets”, while a general malaise also set in among those who complain there was “nothing for business” in the proposals, which more broadly represent “the wrong choices”.

Original article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/05/25/britains-small-businesses-overwhelmingly-reject-tory-manifesto/