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What are the key policies of the Liberal Democrats with an emphasis on how their policies will affect business, especially smaller businesses?

Taxation

  • Cutting business rates seen as a ‘priority’, and have also vowed to support entrepreneurship with a new scheme that would pay selected entrepreneurs £100 a week for six months to support their living costs.
Employment
  • Propose a ban on zero hours contracts and want to ensure rights derived from EU law, such as parental leave, continue post-Brexit.
Skills/productivity

The UK has one of the lowest levels of output per hour in the G7 – only in Japan is it lower, which may explain the glut of minimum wage jobs.

  • Want to double the number of businesses that hire apprentices, develop national colleges to deliver high-level vocational skills, and increase advice in schools about entrepreneurship and self-employment.
Telecoms/broadband/5G
  • Set an aggressive target of 2020 for FTTP to be the standard technology, and they are the only party to say that SMEs are a priority. However, they make no mention of 5G.
ImmigrationWelfare
  • Reverse cut to universal credit.
Drugs
  • Make cannabis legal but regulated.
  • Cannabis tax to raise £1 billion a year.
Environment
  • Ban sale of diesel cars.
  • Generate 60 per cent of electricity by renewables by 2030 – this may happen anyway.
NHS
  • Extra £6 billion in funding.
  • Restore bursaries for nursing students.
Pensions
  • Guarantee triple lock: guaranteeing pensions to rise either with inflation, earnings or by 2.5 per cent a year, whichever is the higher.
Housing
  • A Housing Investment Bank – builders often complain that lack of finance is holding them back
Education
  • £7 billion extra in funding.
  • Free school meals for all primary school children.
Citizen rights
  • Get rid of snoopers charter.
  • Proportional voting.
  • Lower voting age to 16.
  • Democratically elected upper chamber to replace House of Lords.
See also

What the pre-election manifestoes mean for small businesses