General election 2024: Do businesses think Labour or the Tories would be better for the economy?
July 2nd, 2024, Rudy Sooprayen, Darren Yaxley, Xavier Stochaj, Christien Pheby

General election 2024: Do businesses think Labour or the Tories would be better for the economy?

The Conservatives have traditionally been regarded as the party of enterprise – but ahead of the 4 July general election, Labour are trying to eat their lunch. Keir Starmer’s party have hobnobbed with the FTSE 350, pledged to be “pro-worker and pro-business”, and published an endorsement from over 100 current and former executives in The Times. For their part, the Tories have promised to “turbocharge” growth with measures such as abolishing the main rate of self-employed national insurance contributions and extending the full expensing policy to leasing.

But which party does UK enterprise prefer? YouGov asked 561 senior decision makers at British businesses whether they think Labour or the Conservatives would do a better job of understanding their needs and managing the country’s economy.

In both cases, Keir Starmer’s party enjoys an edge over the Conservatives. Two in five business leaders would prefer to see Labour in charge of the economy, compared to three in ten for the Tories (39% vs. 30%) – and similar proportions say the same when it comes to understanding the requirements of UK enterprise (37% vs. 30%).

By 48% to 26%, business leaders expect the economy to improve over the next year

Our data also shows that business leaders are more optimistic than not about the economic picture for the year ahead. Half expect it to improve, while just a quarter think it will get worse (48% vs. 26%).

Similar proportions of small and large businesses feel the same.

What’s worrying British businesses ahead of the 2024 general election? 

So what exactly might they be concerned about? We asked business leaders to name the top three issues keeping them up at night.

Economic instability (34%) was the most chosen option on our list, followed by growth (27%), and miscellaneous rising costs (26%). A fifth of businesses said they were worried by red tape (20%), political instability (20%), and staff recruitment and retention (19%), and nearly as many said the same of increasing business and interest rates (17%) or cashflow issues (16%).

In some of these areas, such as political uncertainty and tax, the government elected this week could have a more direct and obvious impact (for example, both Labour and the Tories have proposed changes to business rates). In other areas, such as economic stability or concerns around new technology, delivery may be a less immediate proposition.

YouGov polls senior decision makers at British businesses on a regular basis – getting a window into these concerns, and how they shape their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. To find out more, contact our B2B research team.

Economic instability (34%) was the most chosen option on our list, followed by growth (27%), and miscellaneous rising costs (26%). A fifth of businesses said they were worried by red tape (20%), political instability (20%), and staff recruitment and retention (19%), and nearly as many said the same of increasing business and interest rates (17%) or cashflow issues (16%).

In some of these areas, such as political uncertainty and tax, the government elected this week could have a more direct and obvious impact (for example, both Labour and the Tories have proposed changes to business rates). In other areas, such as economic stability or concerns around new technology, delivery may be a less immediate proposition.

YouGov polls senior decision makers at British businesses on a regular basis – getting a window into these concerns, and how they shape their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. To find out more, contact our B2B research team.

Photo: Getty