Skip to content

Business & Economy

The Big Question

As the clock ticks towards the next General Election, what are the key priorities you believe the principal parties must include in their manifestos to catalyse the economy and instil fresh market confidence?


Aman Chahal

Co-founder and chief executive


The UK must prioritise green growth, as it is already falling far behind international competitors in Europe, Asia and the US.

Current energy costs, among the highest in the EU, are already placing great strain on our homes and businesses, so rapidly expanding the UK’s commitment to energy reduction is essential. 

The CBI estimates that failing to invest will result in the UK losing out on £4.3 billion of green growth by 2030 alone, underlining the necessity to incentivise investment.

Germany is streets ahead in the development of heat pumps and insulation; France leads the way in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and the US is focusing on operational carbon capture.  

The UK lags behind in all these areas, despite the fact the drive to net-zero can create far-reaching growth opportunities.

I’d also like the next Government to incentivise businesses to create more jobs, in particular apprenticeships, to help overcome the massive skills shortages in a range of industries, including construction. 

There should also be a rethink on abolishing the corporation tax super-deduction, which will not only remove the stimulus for business investment but will see the UK plummet from having the fifth most competitive tax system in the OECD to the 30th.


Brenda McLeish

Chief executive

Learning Curve Group

Investment in the education and training landscape should be at the forefront of parties’ policies. 

It’s absolutely crucial education and skills training are accessible to the people who need it, in order to fill gaps in the national skillset.

Being in the education and training industry, we have frontline exposure to how skill shortages can directly impact organisations’ capacity to recruit competent and productive staff. 

Targeting this area will create pipelines of talented individuals with expert industry knowledge, and will serve to ease the impacts of the cost of living crisis that businesses are currently navigating, by improving productivity. 

Investing in this field will also catalyse social mobility.

We will see the stimulation of job opportunities, industry flexibility and innovation, plus billions of pounds in additional revenue.

It will see direct and positive impacts on business investment, salary promotions and increases, and an improvement in social wellbeing, public health and civic engagement.

It is imperative funding is increased to enhance the accessibility of education and skills training, as is advocating its benefits and increasing the exposure of these opportunities to the general population.


Michael Hoggart 

UK plant manager 

TMD Friction

From a business leadership perspective, my key priorities would be energy efficiency, the cost of living crisis and cutting NHS waiting times.

With regard to energy efficiency improvements and net-zero, I would urge the Government to look at reducing VAT, which would likely help create an ‘able to pay’ market in energy efficiency. 

Being more energy efficient as a country, with key changes and improvements implemented at the highest level, would reduce our carbon emissions, which can also be linked to keeping people warmer in the home, reducing illness and keeping customer bills down.

In my eyes, this would be a win-win.

Elsewhere, we have to continue to reduce inflation and the country’s national debt.

This would help with the cost of living crisis, which is impacting so many people up and down the country.

Finally, I’d like to see NHS waiting times cut, so more people get the treatment they need.


Professor Ian Green

Professor of practice

Newcastle University


North East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network

While it may not be the immediate vote winner this Government will be seeking, I believe that making it easier and more attractive for firms to engage with the apprenticeship agenda would help boost business confidence while addressing potential future skills shortages.

At the moment, some of the region’s largest businesses have a substantial amount of unspent levy. 

This is investment that had been destined for apprenticeships, but is now being handed back to the Treasury, where it potentially will be spent on anything but the skills agenda. 

Complexities remain around the apprenticeship levy transfer, and while the process has been simplified somewhat, many businesses still do not know this and are not prepared to consider it as a source of funding, even though it has the potential to be of enormous benefit to them. 

I believe regional businesses would much rather see – and get behind – a policy that delivers the unspent levy back into the region, to promote, enhance and encourage firms to engage more with skills development.