Entrepreneurs give politicians the thumbs-down

2006

Britain's political parties may like to paint themselves as business-friendly, but they are all failing to win the hearts and minds of the country's wealth-creating entrepreneurs.

Almost six out of 10 (58 per cent) of the entrepreneurs surveyed by think-tank the Tenon Forum said that no party best understood them - starkly illustrating serious political malaise within the private sector.

From those who did proclaim a political preference, the Conservatives Party emerged a long way ahead. Two thirds selected the Conservatives (67 per cent) compared to only one in five for Labour (19 per cent) and a distant one in seven for the Liberal Democrats (14 per cent).

Although this shows a clear lead for the Tories amongst those who stated their preference, this still amounts to considerably less than one in three (28 per cent) of the whole UK business electorate.

Richard Kennett, Chairman of the Tenon Forum, said: "To win the hearts of business leaders, the parties need to vow that they will cut the mass of red tape currently bogging business down and offer significant tax exemptions so that the businesses of tomorrow can retain momentum and keep the nation's economy healthy."

The bi-annual research, conducted by GfK NOP on Tenon's behalf, questioned managing directors, financial directors and senior directors of 600 small and medium-sized entrepreneurial businesses for analysis by the Tenon Forum, an independent think-tank of entrepreneurs.

The research showed that business leaders in London and the South East are the most staunch Conservatives in the UK, with more than a third (36 per cent) believing that the Tories best understand issues faced by growing businesses.

"It is a good sign for the Tories that their approval rating is higher in London," Richard Kennett said.

"Political trends often start there and then permeate throughout the UK. However entrepreneurs need to be convinced that David Cameron understands the problems faced by growing businesses under the current Labour regime and they need to see a promise of action to make things easier."