Why Labour lost the North West business vote
This is one of my shorter musings but I spotted a little item earlier this week with Chris Leslie, the shadow Chancellor, conducting an inquest into why Labour lost the support of businesses in last month’s election.
He said he wants to set up a “business forum” and meet leaders from groups such as the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce to find out why businesses of all sizes mostly backed the Conservatives.
I am still waiting for my invitation but strangely enough I really don’t think you need a crystal ball to figure out where they lost the confidence of the North West business community. Its tough, almost confrontational, language on energy firms and bill hikes, the City’s bonus culture, as well as its meddling with rents and foreign takeovers are to name but a few subjects that had businesses queuing up in the blue corner.
Leslie went then into pure political/W1A speak when he announced to the media he wanted to do “.… a really in-depth walk-through” over which of the policies businesses liked – such as cutting business rates for 1.5 million small company properties – and what we didn’t.
Yes, of course we all like the idea of cutting business rates for small businesses but the Conservatives are also doing that through their Small Business Rate Relief scheme, what we really need to see is the revaluation back on track as soon as possible and Empty Rates Relief restored.
So, we await another review, another forum and another series of politician’s hand-wringing which won’t make any difference for at least 4 years and 11 months – and probably not even then. I am hardly awaiting the outcome with bated breath, in fact give me half an hour and I could probably write the summary for them and put four Labour interns out of a job in the process.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is the latest big name to call on the government to extend the business rates holiday beyond April 2021.
The retail and hospitality sectors are mobilising the troops with dire warnings that thousands of business are at risk if the rates holiday isn’t extended beyond April 2021.
The pandemic has led to more than 50,000 extra appeals being lodged against business rates by Scottish firms alone.