Politicians ignore business.

More than three out of five finance directors say the general election campaign is ignoring the real issues facing their businesses, according to this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Personnel Big Question.

Covering 460 FDs, the survey found 19% were convinced the parties were taking notice of business needs, compared to 61% who said that they weren’t.

The findings came as the launch of the major parties’ business manifestos descended into a tit-for-tat row over whether sums added up. They also traded big-name backers, with the Conservatives producing a letter of support signed by 145 businessmen, including Dixons chief John Clare and Formula One chief Sir Frank Williams.

Many of the FDs said that, because parties are targeting individuals’ votes, they are focusing on issues like healthcare and education.

Some highlighted the euro’s low profile, despite the fact it is a key area of policy difference.

One frustrated FD said: ‘Nobody will dare mention joining the euro club and losing the pound, a major issue affecting any business with any overseas suppliers or customers.’

Other issues they highlighted included the minimum wage, taxation and pension schemes. Some mentioned the burden of red tape and bureaucracy, and said small businesses in particular were being ignored.

Jeremy North, of WinWin Technology, said: ‘The sooner these lot are out of power the better. We cannot go through ten years of Labour due to the effects it will have on business.’

Although a few do not think parties are ignoring business interests, they remain sceptical. As one said: ‘The election is full of spin, half truths and lies wrapped up in nausea-provoking gloss.’

But a few did not share such cynicism. ‘They haven’t done badly so far,’ said another.

– BBC reporter Jonty Bloom on the general election, page 11. Opinion, page 12

– For more on party manifestos, go to

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