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Dominic Preston, partner at Grant Thornton St Albans Dominic Preston, partner at Grant Thornton St Albans
07 April 2015 Written by 

Local businesses called to grill senior MPs at Grant Thornton election hustings

Hertfordshire business leaders are being invited to help quiz senior Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, Green Party and UKIP politicians on their manifestos next month during an election hustings event hosted by financial and business advisers Grant Thornton.

On 14 April, Grant Thornton is bringing together over 300 representatives from UK firms to debate with the Conservatives' Matthew Hancock, Labour's Chuka Umunna, the Liberal Democrats' Vince Cable, Natalie Bennett of the Green Party and a UKIP representative on how their parties plan to improve the environment for business.

The discussion will be facilitated by Anna Edwards, news anchor at Bloomberg TV and broadcast live on Bloomberg TV at 8:30am 14 April. Selected Hertfordshire businesses are being invited to attend the event and also to submit questions via email on the areas they would like to see discussed.

Dominic Preston, partner at Grant Thornton's new St Albans space, comments: "All the evidence points to the massive impact mid-sized businesses (MSB) have on the economy and the reduction of the UK's £34.8bn trade deficit will be in part reliant on their growth and success.

"With the election the most open for years and the enormous shift in the political and economic environment that has taken place over the past five years, the opportunity for a full exchange of views between dynamic MSB leaders and politicians is critical.

"The event is a chance for business leaders, including those from local companies, to give their views on the parties' manifestos and discuss what else is needed to fuel UK plc in the global economy."

MSBs are the UK's fastest growing sector and during 2014 contributed £263bn to the country's economy plus £37.2bn of exports.

Dominic Preston continues: "Our 'Agents for Growth' report from last year provided a collective voice for business and has established an agenda for what the government can do to provide a sustainable business environment.

"There has been a definite sea change in the factors that inhibit business growth. Back in 2009 the top priorities for were access to capital, bank charges and customer demand. Now it's all about the availability of skills and employee turnover. There are also concerns over increased global market competition and maybe the easiest to address - the burden of regulatory requirements on business.

"To redress the UK trade deficit, politicians need to enable UK businesses to sustainably compete in a global economy. Get this right and our research shows that MSBs could add a further £50bn to the economy by 2020. That's why creating this session - the only one focussed on this group - is so important."

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