By Jonathan Davies
After weeks of campaigning, and 15 hours of voting, the UK has voted the Conservative into government.
We've been gauging the business reaction to the news that there will be a Conservative government for the next five years.
Guy Rigby, partner and head of entrepreneurial services at Smith & Williamson, said: "More than anyone, business needs certainty of Government, as well as business-friendly policies to keep our economic recovery on track. We would look to the incoming Government to maintain its existing momentum and act quickly on manifesto pledges to roll out the ‘Help to Grow’ scheme for start-ups, raise the target for SMEs’ share of central government procurement to one-third and free our smaller employers from National Insurance Contributions.
"In addition to more general commitments to cut red tape, review business rates and strengthen prompt payment rules, we would also like the new Government to reintroduce the Corporate Venturing Scheme, which would encourage established businesses to invest in smaller businesses, a relief that was withdrawn in 2010.
"Finally, we would also like the new Government to improve entrepreneurial and finance-related education in schools and universities to empower the next generation of UK entrepreneurs and ensure that students are properly prepared for the increasingly demanding world of work."
Speaking before the outcome of the election, Andrew Hull, strategy director for Pocket App, said: "The rise of tech cities all over the UK has been great but it is still a very difficult environment for innovative start-ups. The new government could make a real impact by setting up free enterprise zones — start up zones aimed at small businesses, operating in a tax free environment with no corporation tax or business rates to pay for 5 years. It would enable technology clusters to develop and reduce the tax burden on entrepreneurs and growing businesses so they can fully invest in creating the next Google or Facebook."
Derek Kelly, managing director at ClearSky Business, said: “After all the talk of coalitions, backroom deals and confidence-and-supply arrangements, I think most small business owners will be breathing a sigh of relief today.
“David Cameron and George Osborne have laid out a pro-business agenda, and their unexpected majority gives them the mandate to implement it.
“Governments cannot create wealth, jobs and new businesses, but they can create a framework that encourages growth. Britain’s start-ups and SMEs will now be hoping that the Tories deliver on the pledges contained in their small business manifesto, including cutting red tape, increasing start-up loans and enabling expansion through the Help to Grow scheme."