The frontpage of the Telegraph today splashed with news that 5,000 small business firms had written a letter in support of Conservative economic policies, but recent revelations have brought into doubt the independent voice of the document.
“SIR – We run small businesses right across the country.
“We work hard, make sacrifices and invest our own money to help our businesses grow and succeed.
“It was tough during the recession, but we kept going.
“This Conservative-led Government has been genuinely committed to making sure Britain is open for business.
“They’ve managed to get the economy moving again by tackling the deficit, helping to keep interest rates low and inflation down.
“We’ve been helped by their steps to lower taxes, reduce red tape, simplify employment law and get the banks lending.
“The good news is that businesses like ours have helped to create 1,000 jobs a day since 2010.
“We would like to see David Cameron and George Osborne given the chance to finish what they have started.
“A change now would be far too risky and would undo all the good work of the last five years.”
The sentiments may be shared by the signatories, but the contents of the letter has all the hallmarks of something crafted by spin doctors at Conservative Party HQ, rather than coming from the heart of any business leaders.
The letter was orchestrated by entrepreneur Karren Brady, who is the Small Business Ambassador to David Cameron, and a Conservative life peer after being elevated to the House of Lords by the Prime Minister. Far from an independent voice form the business community, Baroness Brady is an integral part of Tory hierarchy.
The letter has been featured on the Tory party website for weeks, with the party attempting to find people that supported their policies – The Guardian discussed the letter three weeks ago.
The letter shows no groundswell of support from the independent business community, but is instead merely a piece of carefully crafted campaign promotion from Tory supporters who happen to run businesses, with the document written by CCHQ-Admin according to the PDF.
The biggest threat to businesses over the next parliament is not whatever policies either David Cameron or Ed Miliband implement, but the uncertainty over the UK leaving the EU. The Better Together successfully made the case that the uncertainty of an independent Scotland was the major issue for businesses in the referendum, and the upcoming election is no different – the UK leaving the EU could destroy jobs and businesses that have become ever more tightly integrated with our European neighbours. This is a far more pressing concern to businesses than whether the government increases taxes by five percent or introduces rent control.