Small firms and marketing agencies urgently need post-election certainty

The Forum of Private Business has warned that small businesses and some marketing agencies will be affected by the hung parliament election result, potentially jeopardising and hampering business plans.

The group says it had hoped one party would win an overall majority in order to secure swift economic recovery and with the election result creating an uncertain outcome, it is calling for MPs to put aside their differences and create a functioning administration as soon as possible.

The Forum says it is concerned that the uncertainty and confusion caused by a hung Parliament will jeopardise this and hamper business owners’ attempts to plan ahead.  

 Forum chief executive Phil Orford says: “I expect many smaller businesses will be disappointed that the election has resulted in a hung Parliament.However, the outcome can’t be changed so it is vital that the newly-elected MPs put aside party politics and work together to come up with a credible system of governance.”

 “With the economy still in a very precarious state and a mountain of public debt to be tackled, businesses owners need our elected representatives to move away from inter-party point-scoring and show political responsibility. These businesses are the lifeblood of UK Plc. I would urge all the political parties to do everything they can to come to a swift, workable consensus in order to secure the prosperity of Britain’s SMEs and the wider economy.”

Chris Parkhouse, regional Chairman of the Institute of Directors (IoD) across the East of England says: “It’s vital that this political vacuum is filled as quickly as possible. The country simply can’t afford an extended period of political horse trading which delays much needed action to tackle the deficit. Politicians have postponed the difficult decisions on public spending cuts for too long already. Further delay will only jeopardise the future of the UK economy.”

With more than 500 general election results in out of 650, the results have presented a hung parliament with the Tories having the largest amount of MPs in the House of Commons.

At the time of this article going to press, the Conservatives had taken 289 seats in the Commons, Labour had taken 246 seats and the Lib Dems had 51 seats. Here, we lay out the plans each of the parties had presented for the marketing community before the country went to the polls yesterday:

If in power, the Conservatives said they would:

  • Slash government spending on advertising and marketing to 1997 levels.
  • Set up a website for parents to complain about “sexualised” products aimed at children and irresponsible marketing.
  •  Exclude agencies found in “serious breach” of rules governing marketing to children from bidding for government contracts for three years.
  • Create a payment by results scheme for agencies on the COI roster
  • Ban peer-to-peer marketing techniques aimed at children
  • Ban off-licences and supermarkets from selling alcohol below cost price.
  • Ensure consumers have the “right to choose non-GM foods through clear labelling” and introducing “honesty in food labelling”.
  • Develop consistent messages in terms of public health campaigns for alcohol and obesity.
  • “Relax and remove” some of the regulations that ITV is subject to, including CRR.

Labour said they would:

  • Promise a 25% cut in departmental marketing budgets through efficiency savings and greater COI aggregation.
  • Ask Consumer Focus to set up a system for parents to complain about “sexualised” products aimed at children and eradicate irresponsible marketing.
  • Clamp down on illegal online copyright infringement and look at ways to restrict sites that promote the above from receiving ad revenue

The Liberal Democrats who could align with either of the parties have called for a

  • Cut in the number of government press officers by half
  • A cut in government advertising budgets back to 1997 levels
  • A partnership with the existing regulatory bodies to ensure that children are protected.

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