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How the 2024 UK election could affect your business

Danielle Collard
17 Jun 2024

Researching political promises can be a long and tiring task, so we’ve done some of the leg work and compiled a list of the relevant claims and manifesto pledges the major parties have made that could impact your businesses. Let’s take a look!

How can the general election affect my business?

Fluctuations in market confidence

Eek—this can be a hard one, given the current economic climate! However, elections do create uncertainty in the market, leading to changes in consumer confidence and spending–no matter who is elected. Ultimately, this can affect your sales and revenue bottom line, particularly if consumer spending decreases during political uncertainty. We’re all hoping this will be very short-term, though.

Changes to regulatory frameworks

A new government can mean new laws. This means small businesses need to adjust to stay legally compliant, such as changing operations and investments.

Adjustments to tax and economic policies

Tax changes could be implemented, impacting your cash flow as a business owner. These might include changes to corporation tax rates, VAT rates, and business rates.

Employment law changes

Changes in employment laws from newly elected governments can affect wages, workers' rights, and hiring practices. Therefore, you may need to find new ways of effectively managing your workforce.

Revised government support and grants

Support could be changing for small businesses. Different governments prioritise various sectors, after all. Changes in leadership could affect the availability of grants, loans, and subsidies to SMBs.

Shifts in trade and tariff policies

Trade relations are impacted by who is leading. Tariffs and other restrictions can certainly affect small businesses involved in importing and exporting goods, given that these can impact supply chains, costs, and market access.

Below, we’ve pulled together the statements some of the political parties have made in their manifestos and how they could affect your business. Read on to find out about the policies, or go straight to your preferred party:

Conservative party

The Conservative party has released a manifesto with promises of tax cuts, such as a 2p reduction of national insurance, 30 hours of free childcare for parents before their child goes to school, and a £36 billion investment in roads, buses, and rail the party claims will drive local growth (afforded by cancelling the Northern section of HS2). Here are the promises the party has made to help drive businesses forward:

Planned changes to the tax system:

These can all be found on the Conservative 2024 Clear Plan manifesto on page 9:

  • An increased business rates multiplier on warehouses that support online shopping
  • Lifting the employee threshold so more companies can be considered medium-sized (saving hours on admin)
  • Not increasing Capital Gains tax while retaining tax incentives such as Enterprise Investment Scheme, Seed Enterprise, Investment Scheme, Venture Capital Trusts, Business Asset Disposal Relief, Agricultural Property Relief and Business Relief
  • Working with public sector organisations to ensure local SMEs benefit from government contracts where possible and practical
  • Securing a £250 million fund to encourage and support female entrepreneurs
  • Promoting digital invoicing and improving enforcement of the Prompt Payment Code to tackle unfavourable payment practices
  • Maintain the current 25% corporation tax level
  • Enact a total of £17 billion in tax cuts by 2030 (Not written in the manifesto, but stated by leader Rishi Sunak)

Investment in communities

These can all be found on the Conservative 2024 Clear Plan manifesto on page 58:

  • £160 million of investment into “investment zones” across the country to catalyse local growth
  • Providing 105 towns with a £20 million endowment fund for local people to revive high streets and town centres
  • Extending the community ownership fund to help communities take control of vital assets such as pubs, libraries and green spaces
  • Launching a review into the “nighttime economy” to reverse the decline of pubs and clubs (page 72)

Employees, staff and wages

  • Raising the national living wage in line with two-thirds of the median earnings, with an expected increase to £13 per hour (page 17)
  • Halve employee National Insurance to 6% by 2027 (saving £1,300 for the ‘average worker’)
  • Tougher sentences on assault against retail workers (page 47)

Labour Party

Keir Starmer and the Labour Party have stated their government would bring back the stability the Conservatives have failed to provide. The party has five key areas it wishes to focus government on, which include kickstarting economic growth, making Britain a clean energy superpower, cutting NHS waiting times, launching a new Border Security Command, and cracking down on antisocial behaviour. Labour also released a plan for small businesses called “The beating heart of our economy”. Below are some of the policies and commitments the party have made that will impact small businesses if it is successfully elected:

Planned changes to the tax system

These can all be found in Labour’s manifesto.

  • Pledged not to increase National Insurance, income tax (basic or additional rates) and VAT
  • Retain permanent full expensing for capital investment and the annual investment allowance for small businesses
  • Cap corporation tax at 25% for the entire parliament
  • Scrap business rates! Instead, replace it with a revenue-neutral system that will level the playing field between online and high streets (however, no released detailed plans on how their proposed business property taxation system, to replace business rates, would work in practice)

Labour’s five missions to rebuild Britain

Labour has outlined five key areas it wishes to focus its government on, which it believes will lead to positive change across the country. The ones we think that will impact small businesses are:

  1. Kickstart economic growth. Labour claims it will provide stability by sticking to tough spending rules and offering planning reform resulting in 1.5 million new homes, devolved power across England, and a “New Deal” for working people.
  2. Make Britain a clean energy superpower. Labour has pledged to set up Great British Energy to cut bills, helping Britain gain independence from foreign energy suppliers and creating 650,000 new jobs. The party also plans to cut energy bills for small businesses and create thousands of opportunities for tradespeople.
  3. Crackdown on anti-social behaviour. Revitalising Britain’s high streets by tackling anti-social behaviour by introducing new town centre police patrols.

Other notable policies

  • Create a Growth and Skills Levy: Allowing firms to use up to 50% of their levy contributions to fund training through routes other than apprenticeships
  • Boosting small business exports: Boost small business exports by publishing a trade strategy and delivering clear guidance to get new businesses exporting
  • Banking access on the high street: Guarantee small business access to banking services on their high street, including safely depositing cash, by changing regulations to accelerate the rollout of banking hubs
  • Make the UK the best place to start up and scale up: Reform the British Business Bank to support growth. Give better access to capital for SMBs looking to grow and more spinouts from universities
  • Legislation to tackle late payments: unlocking £20 million in unpaid invoices: stamp out late payment of invoices to small businesses. Instead, Labour will require large businesses to better report on their payment practices to expose late payers.
  • A fair chance at public contracts: Open up competition to public contracts, giving small businesses the fairer chance they deserve.

Liberal Democrats

Ed Davey and the Liberal Democrats have produced an ambitious health-oriented manifesto with some big changes. Despite this, Davey has made the claim that the Lib Dems manifesto is fully costed compared to the manifestos from Labour and the Conservatives. Davey has declared that this is “a fair deal” manifesto “to save the NHS”.

Planned changes to the tax system

These can all be found in the Lib Dem’s manifesto.

  • Raise funds by reversing Conservative cuts to big banks and restoring the Bank Surcharge and Bank Levy revenues to 2016 levels (in real terms)
  • The party has committed to reviewing the government's off-payroll working rules (IR35 reforms) "to ensure self-employed people are treated fairly”
  • While not specifying rates, the party plans to cut income tax by raising the tax-free personal allowance
  • No specific pledges on corporation tax rates, but support increasing the global minimum rate to 21%

Tackling the gig economy

The Lib Dems have included in their manifesto many policy and law changes surrounding employment, business, and jobs that will affect the way we do business. Included in this are commitments to:

  • To compensate workers on zero-hour contracts for fluctuating hours of work, set a 20% higher minimum wage and offer them a right to request fixed-hour contracts after 12 months.
  • Ensure high standards of environmental, health, labour and consumer protection, at least matching EU standards.
  • Establish a local banking sector to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Adjusting the Statutory Sick Pay model, aligning it with minimum wage, and supporting smaller businesses in paying it.

Other notable policies

  • Devolve and decentralise decision-making, empowering local governments and scrapping the Conservatives Voter-ID scheme.
  • The Lib Dems will introduce a 24/7 NHS booking system and give everyone the right to see a GP within seven days, or 24 hours if the matter is urgent.
  • Meet the UK's commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by 68% from 1990 levels, with policies such as restoring the requirement that every new car sold from 2030 is zero-emission.


At the time of publication, the SNP had not launched a formal manifesto. However, it does have a selection of policies on its website on agriculture, tourism, and the arts.

Business rates and taxes

All claims can be found on the SNP website.

  • Maintain the Small Business Bonus for the lifetime of parliament (ensuring 100,000 business properties pay no rates)
  • Gradually reduce the Large Business Supplement over the course of the Parliament to ensure that the largest businesses pay the same combined poundage in Scotland as in England
  • Explore the possibility of levying a higher poundage on properties where the owner is registered in a tax haven
  • Maintain the Business Growth Accelerator, which removes “rates liabilities” for the first 12 months after the occupation of a new build, and the Fresh Start scheme, which removes liabilities for the first 12 months after the occupation of a previously empty property
  • Oppose any increase to VAT with household budgets currently under pressure.
  • Oppose to any increase in National Insurance.
  • Intend to maintain current Income Tax rates for the duration of the parliament and increase thresholds by a maximum of inflation.
  • Asking the UK government to take much tougher action on tax avoidance, detailed here

Other notable policies

  • The SNP has a clear manifesto pledge to have another Scottish independence referendum.
  • Over the next five years, the SNP pledges to invest £30 million in a specific programme to invest in island infrastructure and support a green recovery. It also plans to offer an Islands Bond to young people and families who want to stay in or move to islands to buy homes and start businesses.

Green Party

Fighting to “create a greener, fairer country together”, the Green Party launched their manifesto, pledging to transform the economy, housing, and climate. It did include a few points on supporting small businesses while also considering policies that protect employees.

Tax policies

  • Align capital gains tax with income tax rates for individual taxpayers (important for nano and micro businesses), which the Greens claim would affect fewer than 2% of income taxpayers.
  • Align tax rates on investment income with tax income and National Insurance rates
  • Remove the upper earnings limit that restricts the amount of National Insurance paid by high earners

Business support

  • Provide £2 billion per year in grant funding to local authorities to help businesses decarbonise.
  • Set up regional mutual banks to drive investment in decarbonisation and local economic sustainability
  • Encourage community ownership models through access to government funding for the zero-carbon transition
  • Campaign to make the Prompt Payment Code legally binding, bar late payers from public contracts, and give the Small Business Commissioner more proactive investigative powers

Employee, staff and wages

  • Increase the minimum wage to £15/hour for all ages and implement a 10:1 maximum pay ratio for all private and public-sector organisations
  • Equal rights for all workers from day one, including gig economy and zero-hours contracts
  • Repeal of anti-union laws replacing them with a charter of workers’ rights, including the right to strike and a legal obligation for all employers to recognise trade unions
  • Advocate for a four-day working week
  • Invest £12.4 billion in skills/training for the green economy


The Reform Party (formerly known as the Brexit Party) has a ‘working draft’ of a contract rather than a manifesto, where it welcomes comments. The contract will be finalised “later in the year.” It prioritises a high-growth, high-wage, low-tax economy. Its focus is “smart tax cuts” to create growth, which pay for themselves year by year, resulting in more money to invest in reformed public services.

Economy reform that affects business

These claims can all be found on the Reform Party’s website.

  • Free over 1.2 million small and medium-sized businesses from Corporation Tax. Lift the minimum profit threshold to £100k, reduce the main Corporation Tax Rate from 25% to 20%, and then to 15% from year 5
  • Abolish IR35 Rules to support sole traders
  • Lift the VAT Threshold to £120,000
  • Simplify the tax system (UK’s tax code is “over 21,000 pages”)
  • Abolish Business Rates for high streed-based SMBs and offset it with an Online Delivery Tax at 4% for large, multinational enterprises to create a fairer playing field for high streets. 
  • Cut entrepreneur’s tax relief to 5%. 
  • SME Enterprise Zones for left-behind areas with a period of zero tax for new or existing businesses that are creating jobs
  • Fast track building new housing on brownfield sites and infrastructure projects to boot businesses, especially in the North and coastal regeneration areas

Employees, staff and wages

  • “Scrap thousands of laws that hold back British business and damage productivity, including employment laws that make it riskier to hire people” (Quote from Reform Party website, no policy mentioned)

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru launched a ‘Supporting our Business’ section of their 2024 manifesto, which includes reforms to business rates, promoting local procurement and ownership models, ensuring broadband access, introducing new business regulations and worker rights, and aiming to re-join the EU single market to support Welsh SMEs and the economy.

Notable proposals for businesses

  • Reform non-domestic rates (business rates) to reduce bills and establish a system that better supports small businesses
  • Amend the business rates multiplier to better support high-street businesses in retail and hospitality
  • Aim for 75% of Welsh public sector spending to be with companies located in Wales to support local businesses
  • Promote cooperative, employee and community ownership models for businesses
  • Guarantee a high-speed broadband connection to every business in Wales, including setting up a Welsh Broadband Infrastructure Company for rural areas

Supply chain changes

  • Introduce a Business, Human Rights and Environment Bill mandating companies conduct supply chain due diligence to prevent abuses
  • Re-enter the European single market and customs union to mitigate Brexit's impact on Welsh businesses

Employment, staff and wages

  • Proposed investigating increases in National Insurance contributions on higher earners
  • Implement an apprenticeship living wage
  • Support legislation for employment rights like paid leave, banning zero-hour contracts, and the right to disconnect from work

Get ready

Please note: all information provided was correct at the time of writing, but we encourage you to fact-check these, in case anything changes!

Uncertain times can be scary for your business, and you’re bound to be impacted, one way or another, by the election results. But DON’T PANIC! Now that you know the policies affecting businesses from the top seven parties involved, you’ll be in the loop no matter who wins.

Despite the tumultuous few years the UK has experienced, this upcoming election is expected to result in a stable government that may well bring new opportunities and economic growth that will bring greater prosperity and spending to your region and the UK as a whole. Fingers crossed! 🤞