Which is the party of small business?

As several owners of design businesses come out in support of the Conservative Party, we look at what all the parties are promising small business owners.


This week the Daily Telegraph has published a letter signed by more than 5,000 small business owners who have come out in support of the Conservative Party.

The owners of several design businesses have signed the letter, including LMC Design co-founder Andrew Cole and Farrow Creative founder Samantha Farrow.

The letter says that the Conservative-led Government has aided small business by lowering taxes, reducing red tape, simplifying employment law and encouraging bank lending.

We’ve analysed all the major parties’ manifestos to look at what they are promising small business owners, and also spoke to the parties about what they would do to support the design industry should they win at the next election.


  • The party promises to create “the most competitive business tax regime in the G20” – this will include cutting corporation tax from 28 to 20 per cent and extending by 100 per cent the Small Business Tax Rate Relief.
  • It says that it will conduct a “major review” of business rates by the end of the year to ensure that “by 2017 they properly reflect the structure of our modern economy”.
  • The Tories promise to treble their Start Up Loans programme.
  • The party says it wants small businesses to receive one-third of central Government procurement contracts. It also pledges to bring in a Small Business Conciliation Service, to mediate in disputes such as late payment.


  • Labour promises that the UK “will continue to have the most competitive rate of corporation tax in the G7”.
  • The party promises to introduce a Small Business Administration, which will “give [SMEs] a voice at the heart of government”.
  • It also promises to ensure procurement contracts are “accessible” and regulations “are designed with small firms in mind”.
  • Labour’s Chuka Umunna told Design Week the party would work to ensure the UK’s Intellectual Property regime is “fit for purpose” in order to give the design industry more “certainty and stability”.

Liberal Democrats

  • The Lib Dems say they will make small businesses “the priority for any business tax cuts” and look to remove “unnecessary” business regulation.
  • The party says its £3.5 billion Regional Growth Fund would help support small business, including design businesses, across the country.
  • The Lib Dems promote apprenticeships as a way of encouraging young people to work in design businesses, and say that thanks to the party 2 million new apprenticeships have been created since 2010.
  • The party also pledges to support businesses in the digital sector by creating a nationwide network of technology innovators.

The Green Party

  • The Green Party positions itself as the party of “the local economy” and pledges to support small businesses across the UK.
  • The party pledges to freeze Corporation Tax at 20 per cent for small businesses, while raising it to 30 per cent for larger firms.
  • The Greens say they will reduce National Insurance to 8 per cent.
  • The party pledges to invest £2 billion into community banks to serve local areas or particular groups.

The UK Independence Party

  • UKIP says it will support small businesses by extending the Small Business Rate Relief scheme.
  • The party also promises to crack down on late payments to improve business cashflow.
  • UKIP pledges to make it easier for small businesses to tender for major contracts by “removing the necessity to demonstrate compliance in areas irrelevant to the job being tendered for”.
  • UKIP culture spokesman Peter Whittle told Design Week that the party would support small businesses in the design industry by moving to free it from “the stifling and restrictive regulation which results from Britain’s membership of the EU”.
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