‘Today is a good day’ – Bristol businesses react to General Election result
Stephen Fear comments on the December 2019 election result, featured on BusinessLive on 13th December 2019.
Boris Johnson has said he is “humbled” and will “repay the trust of voters” after the Conservative Party’s historic win in the general election last night.
Although Labour held on to is four constituency seats in Bristol, Jeremy Corbyn’s party suffered its worst defeat since 1935, losing traditional stronghold seats across the UK.
Bristol is surrounded by a sea of blue, stretching right across the South West down to Cornwall, with only Bath (Lib Dem), Exeter (Labour) and Plymouth, Sutton and Devon Port (Labour) also holding non-Conservative seats.
The result has been widely welcomed by the business community although many remain cautious about the outlook.
The city’s chamber of commerce, Business West, says it welcomes “the stability” a majority government will now provide.
Phil Smith, managing director of Business West, said: “The rise of Conservatism in the North will mean a very different set of priorities to traditional Conservatism and a greater focus on inclusion and a different economic shape of our country.
“Sajid Javid’s manifesto pledges will mean a big step up in infrastructure spending nationally, although day to day spending will remain tight.
“The big question remains as to whether our region gets its fair share, given the creaking state of much of our infrastructure.
“The precise outcome of Brexit will remain uncertain, but this will not because of UK politics but due to the nature of UK-EU negotiations and what we want our future relationship to look like.”
Wesley Davidson, director and property finance broker at Fox Davidson in Bristol, says Boris Johnson’s party win is a “real boost for business”.
He said: “My business relies on people feeling confident enough to purchase property to live or invest in. A Corbyn-led Labour government would have damaged that confidence and I fear would have led to a housing market crash.
“As a business owner I am affected by corporation tax and the Conservatives have kept the rate at 19 per cent whereas a Labour government intended to increase this to 26 per cent.
“The election result is good for small business and good for the housing market. Today is a good day.”
Bristol-based phone box millionaire Stephen Fear, who is the founder of land and property company Fear Group, agrees.
“It wasn’t just about Brexit it was about the huge rejection of a Marxist agenda,” he said.
“Unless Labour accept that they will lose next time too. Enterprise and business creates prosperity for everyone including those at the bottom. Blair understood that and Corbyn didn’t. It’s that simple.”
Linda Davies-Carr, a Bristol business coach, has welcomed the end to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
She said: “The elected few who manage our country now need to be allowed to execute the task they have been elected to complete.
“Let’s give them some space and time to do just that. Whether you wanted to leave or remain, at least the decision to leave can be executed now and we can all get on with living our lives, building our businesses and preparing for impact.”
Steve Preston, of Bristol-based recruitment company Heat, says he hopes to now see “some real positives” in the economy.
He added: “Regardless of which side of the fence people sit on politically, we now have a government with an overwhelming majority that looks set to be in power for the next five years.
“Due to this I hope we will see some real positives in the economy, a resolve to Brexit and a refined focus on the areas that matter – including education, the NHS and addressing the skills shortage in the UK.
“I’m hopeful that this outcome should now allow businesses to focus on the future, enabling them to build their strategy with confidence.”