Michael Spencer is chief executive of Icap
ELECTION COUNTDOWN: 9 DAYS TO GO
Every day until the final week of the election campaign, we ask a business leader to say what policies would entice them to vote for a particular party.
MICHAEL SPENCER: CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ICAP
■ Focus on the Economy Since 2010 the UK economy has done much better than literally anyone had forecast. Unemployment has plunged (at 5.1 per cent the lowest in the EU), growth is high (at 2.6 per cent the highest in the EU), inflation is low and 2m jobs have been created (more than the rest of the entire EU), despite the necessary shrinkage of the public sector. Thousands of small businesses have been started. This truly tremendous achievement did not happen by chance; pro-business, enterprise and employment policies must continue whoever is in power. Without economic growth we simply cannot afford a good NHS, education, transport and other public services. Further debt increases are not an option.
■ Stop persecuting wealth creators Labour’s plans to increase the top rate of tax and introduce further taxes on the better off risk alienating the very people who have driven our economic recovery, without raising any additional revenues. Attacking the better off may be populist but it is bad economics and the country would suffer as a result.
■ Present a balanced policy on immigration Immigration is a thorny subject. Immigrants have for centuries made a great contribution to the wealth and diversity of our nation; they still do so. To shut the doors on immigrants is not a good economic policy and nor is the total abolition of non dom status (although some major changes are needed). But an open door policy is not sustainable either; the burden on housing, welfare and public services is simply too great. A balanced middle ground needs to be found.
■ Reassure on national security The world is not a stable place. Much of the Middle East is in turmoil, ISIS is truly terrifying, Russia increasingly assertive, the EU weak, China expansive, our military is under-resourced and undermanned. Terrorism is an ever-present threat. We need a Prime Minister who can represent Britain and British interests effectively on the world stage.