With the date for the UK general election now set as July 4, businesses across the country are bracing themselves for potential shifts in market dynamics, economic policies, and regulatory changes.

Understanding the implications of a pivotal event like a general election is crucial for companies of all sizes — enabling them to navigate the uncertainty and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

When parliament is dissolved on 30 May, the country enters a formal pre-election period, when guidance is in place restricting the use of public resources and the activities of the government, and ministers are advised to defer major decisions on policy, commercial contracts or senior public appointments.

For businesses, this means that any pre-planned campaign activity involving the government may be stalled, and spending decisions delayed, in case the general election deliver a change of government.

The general election could lead to significant policy shifts — depending on which party comes to power; affecting taxation, regulation, trade and tariffs, market volatility, and future growth and innovation.  Election periods often bring economic uncertainty and market volatility, and how businesses navigate these challenges can determine their success and profitability in the coming years.

Here a few actions businesses can take in preparation for the UK general election…

1.  Risk management will become critical — through financial planning and developing flexible plans that account for different political scenarios, businesses can determine strategies that set aside reserves and adjust budgets to cope with economic fluctuations.

2. Diversifying investments and revenue streams to reduce dependence on any single market or sector will also become a key focus for many different businesses.

3. Strategic decision-making including scenario planning — for example, conducting exercises to anticipate potential outcomes of the election and their impacts on your business — can be a useful process to help businesses create robust contingency plans.

4. As voting day looms closer, stakeholder communications will be important, enabling businesses to maintain transparency with investors, employees and customers, in terms of how the business is preparing for the election.

What will happen to corporate tax rates?

Different parties have varying approaches to corporate taxation. Businesses should be aware of potential changes to corporate tax rates, which could affect profitability and investment strategies.

Changes to business rates, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), could impact operating costs.

To help you learn more about party policies, Vote for Policies offers a policy comparison survey. (See end of article for other useful resources.)

What changes might there be to regulations?

The election outcome could influence labour regulations, including minimum wage levels, worker rights, and employment contracts. Companies may need to adjust their HR policies accordingly.

Stricter environmental policies might also be introduced, affecting industries like manufacturing, energy, and transportation. Businesses will need to stay informed about potential compliance requirements.

How will trade agreements be affected?

Ongoing Brexit negotiations and their outcomes could be influenced by the election results. Businesses involved in international trade will need to prepare for potential changes in trade agreements and tariffs.

Opportunities for growth

While elections bring uncertainties, they also present opportunities for growth, innovation and investment. Businesses can begin monitoring potential new government grants, subsidies, and incentives aimed at promoting business growth, innovation, and sustainability.

Companies can also begin focusing on upskilling their workforce. Post-election, there may be new programs or incentives for training and development.

Strengthening recruitment strategies to attract top talent, particularly if the political landscape leads to changes in labour mobility and immigration policies, is another important strategy for businesses to explore.

Useful resources for understanding party policies ahead of the election:

OUR UPCOMING PROGRAMME, Manufacturing: Industry, Innovation and Impact

Manufacturing stands as a cornerstone of the UK economy, driving major growth and innovation, and supporting 7.3 million jobs across the country. Accounting for around 50% of UK exports, and almost a quarter of the national GDP, manufacturing plays a pivotal role in shaping the UK’s future trajectory; fostering economic resilience and prosperity, and fuelling key research that leads to breakthroughs in technology and sustainability. 

Manufacturing: Industry, Innovation and Impact’ will highlight the positive impact of the manufacturing industry and its crucial role in the UK, looking at the demand for UK manufactured goods and how technical advancements and digitalisation enables this. The programme will also explore what the sector is doing to meet sustainability and net-zero targets, and the exciting array of careers and upskilling opportunities in manufacturing. 

There are commercial opportunities for leading organisations to be featured in the programme and spearhead their own news item. If your organisation wants to share what you stand for and be part of this important conversation, please contact ITN Business’ Programming Directors James Salver and Michael Holt.