FDs fear election snub

Business will be all but ignored by political parties in campaigning for next month’s general election, in favour of more vote-winning topics, say the nation’s finance directors.

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With populist issues such as health, education and personal taxes taking centre stage ahead of the 5 May polling day, announced on Tuesday by Tony Blair, vital business issues are

unlikely to get more than a cursory nod over the next 28 days, according to an exclusive survey.

More than 300 FDs took part in the Accountancy Age/Reed Finance Big Question, which asked whether the major political parties would give business the attention it deserves in the election campaign. The results showed that an overwhelming 84% of respondents believe business will be largely forgotten in the race for votes.

‘Election campaigning is all about vote-getting and everyone knows that votes come from the people not from business,’ said John Davies, FD at Moore & Blatch. Steve Fownes at Promega UK said that the political parties were ‘too interested in looking good to the general electorate at the moment’ to concentrate on business.

A spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry said: ‘We share the concern that business-friendly legislation is not high in the political parties’ agendas for the election.’

ICAEW president Paul Druckman demanded ‘a commitment from the new government to reduce regulation and tax complexity, particularly for small companies’.

The survey results come at a time of increased fears over delays to the introduction of key business legislation. The recent draft company law reform bill will be put on ice until after the election. An abbreviated finance bill was due to be rushed through the Commons yesterday enacting essential measures giving effect to the Budget.

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