Business commentators seemed agreed today on the negative impact the hung parliament election outcome will have on the economy.
Frank McKenna, chairman of lobbying group Downtown in Business, said: "I am disappointed that we have not ended up with a clear mandate for one of the parties. The interests of the nation are not best served by this outcome.
"We are in desperate need of clear leadership to take us through an unprecedented time of economic uncertainty. Instead, our politicians will now be focussed on compromise and making deals with one another.
"It will be ironic if voting reform becomes the big debate during those negotiations, when the major issues should be about addressing the economy, national debt and radical reform of the public sector."
James Thomas, head of residential investment and development at Jones Lang LaSalle, said: "The spring market is traditionally a time when volumes in the property market bounce and activity levels peak, however the result of yesterday's general election will squeeze transaction volumes. Some sellers might choose to await clarity on the necessity of HIPS prior to marketing a property while some buyers will await a further possible stamp duty review.
"For developers, the ability to expediently process planning applications will be inhibited further as the power of centralised planners versus local councils now hangs in the balance. For many employees in the public sector, the imminent spending cuts pose a significant threat to their remuneration and job security. There will be a long list of repercussions after today's result, and transparency and detail on housing policy is crucial: the sooner this can be provided the better."
Turnout in the North West was around 3m, or 62% of the electorate. As of 11.30am the scoreboard for the North West was as follows:
- Labour 46 seats, 0 gains, 10 losses, 40.5% of the vote
- Conservative 19 seats, 9 gains, 0 losses, 31.0%
- Liberal Democrat, 5 seats, 1 gain (Burnley), 0 losses, 21.2%
The Conservative gains were in Carlisle, Chester, South Ribble, Blackpool North & Cleveleys, Rossendale & Darwen, Bury North, Weaver Vale, Warrington South, Pendle.
Angie Robinson, chief executive of Greater Manchester Chamber, said: "The uncertainty surrounding the future of government policy in the UK has been a concern for businesses across the region and that looks set to continue as the horse trading between the parties begins.
"The country needs a clear and decisive government to take the tough policy decisions facing us and this is a matter of urgency. All three parties have been unclear on the exact details of their manifestos and this needs to be resolved as quickly as possible to ensure that our economic recovery is nurtured and protected.
"As we are still in the infancy of the recovery, businesses need confidence to invest and create jobs. When the new government is formed the Chamber would like to see a number of detailed policy announcements that incentivise business investment, boost exports to help growth and protect investment in critical infrastructure projects and skills that will enable the UK to remain internationally competitive.
"During the first 90 days after an election, the incoming government must make concrete proposals to reduce legislative and tax burdens on business, review how to move the economy away from an over reliance on consumption and the public sector, and commit to improving Britain's energy, transport and digital infrastructure."
Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Companies across the UK have expressed significant concerns about how a hung parliament could affect the decisive action needed to cut the deficit and improve the business environment.
"The electorate has spoken – and opted for a hung parliament. But the business community has also spoken – and expects the parties to put political horse-trading to one side and put the UK economy at the heart of their thinking. Strong leadership and consensus are required to deal with the serious threats still facing the economy.
"This week's lesson from the eurozone is that we must avoid a crisis of confidence at all costs. British business wants to see a speedy resolution to political negotiations, the formation of a Government, and an agreed policy of putting the economy first."
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- Purdah will continue until Monday at the earliest while a Government is still being formed. In the event of no decision on Monday the ban on politically sensitive statements by councils and quangos, including the North West Development Agency, will remain until a Government has been appointed.