As the country braces itself for a general election on May 7th, Michael Bloom, Top to Toe director, looks at the issues and policies that matter for independent retailers.
Political commentators are pointing to one of the most unpredictable elections in recent memory. The UK may move into five party politics, with the Conservatives and Labour potentially getting under 60 per cent of the vote combined.
Despite the political commentator’s excitement about a lack of overall majority, the potential for five party politics and rise of UKIP, the rest of the country is struggling to muster up much enthusiasm. In the Westminster bubble, the atmosphere is building, whilst in the rest of the UK apathy is the name of the game.
What do we know of the party’s policies on the high street and support for small businesses?
In 2013 Labour’s Small Business Taskforce, comprised of entrepreneurs, business representatives and academics, produced their final recommendations to the Party. Labour has committed to following many of these and to create an environment where small firms can survive and thrive. A key element of the Labour plan is to create a British investment bank that will lend money to new and growing businesses.
The regional parties understand and heavily support independent retailers and value high streets in their local economies. Similar to Labour, Plaid Cymru believes a new Bank of Wales would help indigenous businesses invest in their long-term growth and prosperity: “Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of our economy, and must be nurtured and given help to grow.”
The Conservative Party also claim to be on the side of small businesses. Featuring in their Long Term Economic Plan and during the current parliament they acknowledged: “Our high streets and town centres are facing serious challenges from out-of-town shopping centres and the growth of online and mobile retailing. Our high streets need to be social places with a vibrant evening economy and to offer something that neither shopping centres nor the internet can match.”
Whomever you choose to support and ultimately vote for the House of Commons will definitely have a new tranche of MPs come May. With approximately 90 MPs intending to retire at the election there might be a new political landscape emerging.
Let’s hope they stick to their promises.
Top to Toe is a specialist size/colour stock management and EPOS till system specifically designed for the clothing and footwear industry. It integrates seamlessly with a client’s own web site, Ebay and Amazon. Independent retailers across the UK use Top to Toe systems to automatically keep their shop, web and customer information completely up-to-date and accurate. Tel: 020 3376 5888; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org