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British business statistics reveal: are business owners really behind Tory glory?

It’s done; it’s over. The 2015 British general election has screeched to a halt and, in its wake, named the Conservative party victorious. But what we found business owners had to say about the election, and policies most relevant to British business tell a different story entirely. Here’s a complete breakdown of the results from our General Election 2015 app: including policies most supported, policies felt the most strongly about, and policies viewed in the most positive, and negative lights.

So, who won?

Of nine policy areas deemed most relevant to business owners, it was Labour that came out on top for the vast majority of policy areas:

  • Business support and access to finance (26.42%)
  • Devolution to local government and red tape (24.72%)
  • Employer NI contributions and minimum wage (24.73%)
  • EU and international trade (25.64%)
  • Job creation and zero hour contracts (25.8%)
  • The Tories, on the other hand, came in a marginal second, winning the lead in three of nine areas:
  • Broadband infrastructure and the high street (24.07%)
  • Employment law (26.19%)
  • Pensions (25.79%)

The party to snatch the top spot in the remaining policy area was UKIP, overtaking the Greens to score a late lead for its policies on corporation tax and business rates (25.3%).

But whilst in a vote success is counted in numbers, this can fall short in measuring the actual wants and needs of the people voting. How important are certain policy areas to them, and which do they specifically feel are good, or bad? Here, where a ballot form falls short, our results offer insight.

What did business owners feel most strongly about?

Business owners felt the most strongly (note that ‘strongly’ can denote positive, or negative feelings) about Labour’s policies concerning job creation and zero hours contracts (27.6%), which decree that workers on zero-hours contracts should be entitled to a regular contract after three months of employment, rather than a year. Critics however have been quick to assert that this will only encourage employers to sack staff before they reach the three-month mark. The Tories’ take on the issue, ranked as the second-most important (21.8%), has in the past mentioned scrapping zero-hours contracts, and in this manifesto mentions banning exclusivity clauses within them.

In fact, respondents felt the most strongly on four of nine policy areas by Labour, with Conservatives winning the lead on only two: broadband, infrastructure and the high street (24.9%), and pensions (31.2%).

The issues business owners felt most strongly about, plus the party whose policies generated the strongest response in each policy area, were:

  • Job creation and zero-hours contracts (Labour)
  • Employer NI contributions and minimum wage (Labour)
  • EU and international trade (Labour)
  • Employment law (Greens)
  • Corporation tax and business rates (UKIP)
  • Broadband infrastructure and the high street (Conservatives)
  • Business support and access to finance (Labour)
  • Pensions (Conservatives)
  • Devolution to local government and red tape (Labour)

…but what about what people actually did, and didn’t want?

When discussing wants and needs, it’s also paramount to consider which policy areas business owners felt positively about, and which they regarded in the most negative light. Whilst Labour struck a lead on policies most supported, and policies felt the most strongly about, they also generated the strongest positive, and negative responses.

The policy area business owners considered the most positive was Labour’s stance on employer NI contributions and minimum wage (27.9%), which also gained the most negative responses (27%). In fact, three of Labour’s policy areas considered the most positive (business support and access to finance (28.2%), employer NI contributions and minimum wage, and EU and international trade (23.6%)) were also considered the most negative (27.9%, 27%, and 30.9% respectively).

Complete policy areas considered the most positive, followed by the party whose policies were considered the most positive within that area, were:

  • EU and international trade (Labour)
  • Job creation and zero-hours contracts (Labour)
  • Employer NI contributions and minimum wage (Labour)
  • Employment law (Greens)
  • Corporation tax and business rates (UKIP)
  • Broadband infrastructure and the high street (Conservatives)
  • Business support and access to finance (Labour)
  • Pensions (Conservatives)
  • Devolution to local government and red tape (UKIP)

In turn, complete policy areas considered the most negative, followed by the party whose policies were considered the most negative within that area, were:

  • Devolution to local government and red tape (Conservatives)
  • Pensions (UKIP)
  • EU and international trade (Labour)
  • Business support and access to finance (Labour)
  • Employment law (Labour)
  • Broadband infrastructure and the high street (Greens)
  • Corporation tax and business rates (UKIP)
  • Employer NI contributions and minimum wage (Labour)
  • Job creation and zero hours contracts (Greens)

Our survey was taken by over 2,500 business owners and budding entrepreneurs in the month leading up to the election.

Want to learn more about the 2015 general election? Check out our election coverage to get clued up on this year’s race to the ballots.