The 2024 General Election and What It Means For You

It feels like a long time since the last General Election in December 2019, and with good reason. A lot has happened since then including the global COVID pandemic, lockdowns, England lost the final of the Euro 2020 tournament (hopefully they go one better in Euro 2024!), the cost of living crisis and significant economic and geopolitical turmoil in the world.

The Conservative Party swept to victory and after a turbulent 5 years with 3 different Prime Ministers, the UK public will once again head to the polls on July 4th to cast their votes to decide which party will lead the country forwards.

Voting is a very personal thing and we all have our own reasons for voting the way we do. Many people will base their votes on economic factors, many on personal values and many on key issues such as the environment and climate change, education or healthcare.

In this post we’ll examine the stances and policies of the main parties that could shape the country over the coming years, including how they could impact self-employed people, across a selection of key policy areas – the economy, tax, pensions and housing.

The Economy

The health of the UK economy impacts everyone irrespective of their occupation. The economic policies of the Government effects income, job security, the cost of living and ultimately people’s quality of life. The economic policies of the main parties are key in shaping their overall vision for the country as well as being a major factor in the number of votes they’ll get.

Conservative Party

The Conservatives aim to reduce taxes for both businesses and individuals whilst prioritising economic stability and responsibility. Investment will be focused on infrastructure and support for small businesses through loans and grants to stimulate economic growth. Improved access to resources and training to help the self-employed grow their businesses is also promised as well as deregulation to improve efficiency.

Labour Party

Labour plans to levy higher tax rates on high earners and corporations to fund increased public spending on social services, education and healthcare whilst prioritising the nationalisation of key industries and a more sustainable economy with the Green New Deal. For the self-employed, Labour aims to implement targeted tax-relief to reduce the burden on lower earners while investing in services and infrastructure to support small businesses as well as improving workers’ rights.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats economic policies are relatively balanced and they plan to invest in green technology, healthcare and education. Their aim is to reform the tax system with incentives to encourage self-employment while increasing taxation on the wealthy. They support reintegration with the EU while offering incentives and grants to promote self-employment with a focus on environmental sustainability and green technology to help promote economic growth.

Reform UK

Reform UK prioritizes fiscal conservatism, advocating for lower taxes, reduced Government spending, and deregulation to stimulate economic growth. They propose simplifying the tax system, cutting bureaucracy, and promoting free-market principles to support people moving into self-employment and increase job creation. They also aim to streamline regulations and make them fairer to foster a more competitive business environment and ensure small businesses are not at a disadvantage against bigger companies.

Tax

The taxation policies of the main parties have significant implications on the economy and the financial wellbeing of the population as well as their access to benefits. Voters will consider the impact of these policies on the amount of tax they’ll pay and their own financial circumstances, as well as the economy as a whole, before voting. This makes taxation a key policy area in the forthcoming general election.

Conservative Party

In recent budgets the Conservatives have focused heavily on tax cuts to help businesses and individuals and that trend continues, to an extent, in their 2024 Manifesto. They have outlined plans to keep corporation tax, income tax and VAT rates at their current levels and simplify the tax system.  They intend to completely abolish National Insurance contributions for self-employed people. Their plan is to have this legislation in place before the end of the next Parliament at an annual cost of £2.6bn which will be paid for by closing the tax gap and reducing the welfare bill which will understandably appeal to the self-employed.

Labour Party

Labour plans to increase taxes on high earners and corporations to facilitate expanded public services in what is a more progressive approach to the tax system. They intend to impose a windfall tax on financial institutions and oil companies and address income inequality by introducing reforms on inheritance tax and capital gains tax targeting non-doms as well as introducing VAT for private schools and measures to reduce tax avoidance. They aim to generate an additional £8bn tax revenue.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats plan to target tax avoidance, increase levies on banks, apply significant reform to capital gains tax regulations and freeze the current rates of income tax while increasing public spending. Their overarching strategy is to create a fairer tax system through increased taxation on corporations and high earners as well as simplifying tax filing to encourage entrepreneurship and self-employment. Green taxes and incentives are also a focus to promote sustainability.

Reform UK

Reform UK aim to simplify the UK tax system and reduce the tax burden on businesses. They plan to achieve this by reducing the corporation tax main rate from 25% to 15% and introducing an online delivery tax at 4% targeting large online retailers which will enable them to abolish business rates currently levied on SMEs. They advocate for lower NI contributions and income tax rates, streamlining the tax system through the introduction of a flat tax rate and have mooted reducing the rate of VAT on essential services and goods.

Pensions

The pension policies of the main parties have significant influence on the sustainability of the UK pension system as well as the financial prosperity and security of retirees which is a critical issue for voters as they plan ahead for security in their retirement.

Conservative Party

The Conservatives have pledged to keep the state pension triple lock so that pensions increase by whichever is highest out of average earnings, inflation or 2.5% so pensions don’t lose value in real terms. Additional support is also planned for pensioners to help with the rising cost of living. For the self-employed, the Conservatives plan to encourage saving for retirement by implementing tax incentives as well as simplifying access to pension schemes.

Labour Party

Labour have also confirmed that they will maintain the state pension triple lock as well as possibly reducing the pension age. Their focus is on ensuring all pensioners receive a fair and liveable retirement income as part of their strategy to combat pensioner poverty. Labour also intend to help self-employed people by improving access to pension benefits to bring them more in in-line with those in employment as well as making pension contributions more affordable and flexible.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats will also retain the state pension triple lock and plan to develop reforms to close the gender pension gap and improve pensions for workers on lower incomes. Improved access to pension schemes and the introduction of tax reliefs to encourage self-employed people to save for retirement are also a key component of their pension strategy. Private pension schemes will also come into focus as the Lib Dems aim to improve fairness and transparency for retirees.

Reform UK

Reform UK plan to implement a state pension double lock increasing it by whichever is higher out of inflation or average earnings. Their manifesto proposes implementing a pensions system overhaul to promote greater simplicity, sustainability and fairness. They have also proposed making pensions simpler and easier to join and manage, and incentives to encourage consistent pension contributions from the self-employed to help ensure they’re secure in retirement.

Housing

The housing polies of the main parties outline how they plan to improve the UK housing market and tackle the housing crisis. These policies are something that buy-to-let landlords and property owners will have a keen eye on before the election takes place.

Conservative Party

The Conservatives plan to leverage the Help to Buy and First Home schemes as part of their overarching strategy to increase home ownership. In good news for landlords, they aim to implement simplified planning rules to encourage increased house building to stimulate the rental market as well as providing support to landlords to improve and maintain their rental properties, introduce fairer taxation on rental income and streamline the eviction process to help landlords deal with problem tenants.

Labour Party

Labour have set a target to build a minimum of 150k social and council homes annually to make housing more affordable and alleviate the housing crisis. In measures that favour tenants, Labour propose overall tighter regulation and control of the rental market including improving tenure security for renters, introducing stricter rent controls and improving living conditions in rental properties.

Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems focus is on increasing the construction of new homes and converting empty properties to improve the supply of affordable housing. Their strategies include introducing more rights for tenants including a legal right for them to alter their rented accommodation to make it pet-friendly. Other key policies include incentivising landlords to improve energy efficiency in their properties and introducing measures to protect the rights of tenants and ensure they are treated fairly.

Reform UK

Reform UK aims to increase the supply of quality, affordable housing by simplifying and streamlining planning regulations to encourage construction of more housing and improve affordability. In a positive for landlords, Reform UK have proposed reducing capital gains tax and stamp duty to encourage more to invest in their portfolios as well as introducing measures to simplify and improve relationships between landlords and tenants.

Working with Gorilla

Labour are currently tracking ahead in the polls are on course to govern the country for the first time since 2010. For self-employed people, a general election and a possible change in Government can cause a degree of uncertainty and navigating the potentially significant policy changes in key areas such as the economy and taxation while continuing to grow your business can be challenging.

When you work with Gorilla, your own dedicated accountant will ensure your business and personal finances are expertly managed. You’ll have peace of mind that your tax obligations will be met and that your business will be operating as tax-efficiently as possible. We provide unlimited support, advice and guidance and a same day response to your queries is guaranteed. You’ll also receive full access to FreeAgent accounting software at no extra cost.

If you have any queries about our accountancy packages speak to a member of our friendly team today on 0330 024 0406 or request a callback. If you’d like to join us, please complete our online application form.

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