General Election 2015: Small business support for Tories is stronger in the south than north, according to 5,000-strong Telegraph letter

Lynsey Barber
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Small businesses in the south of England are the overwhelming backers of the Tory party compared with those located across the rest of the UK, based on the 5,000-strong letter of support published in The Telegraph.

The letter, the second signed by business leaders in the lead-up to the General Election, has recieved widespread criticism however, as it was revealed the letter was organised by the Conservatives and featured companies which are no longer trading. At least one business owner on the list has asked to be removed.

Of the small business owners who are listed, those in London, the east, south east and south west provided a combined 63 per cent of support, compared to the rest of the UK where 37 per cent of the 5,000 supporters are based.

The south east was the single biggest area where the Tories managed to garner small business support, with 864 businesses on board, only slightly ahead of London with 842.

Hover over or click/tap on an area on the map to see the share of support from each region

Support from Northern Ireland accounted for less than one per cent of support, with just 17 firms on board with the Conservatives' plans. Wales wasn't far behind either - just two per cent, or just over 100 companies of the 5,000 were from the region.

The clear divide between north and south will do nothing to dispel the feelings of some voters, particularly small business owners, who feel the party is Westminster-centric and more focused on developing the economy closer to home.

George Osborne has attempted to woo potential Tory voters outside the south with promises of creating a "northern powerhouse".

More than 100 senior business leaders of some of the UK's largest companies also signed a letter backing the Tories earlier this month. That also later came unstuck as two business chiefs - AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot and Ladbrokes new chief Jim Mullen - later withdrew support.

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