Page last updated at 00:50 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 01:50 UK

Many firms 'fear hung Parliament'

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Businesses instinctively prefer a clear mandate to govern, the BCC says

Firms are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential impact on their business of a hung Parliament after the election, a survey suggests.

The British Chambers of Commerce found that 65% of 300 firms it polled were either "concerned" or "very concerned" about the prospect of no clear winner.

Some 13% of firms thought that outcome would be "a good thing", but the BCC said businesses were right to be wary.

The study also found most believed VAT would increase after the election.

David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "Instinctively, companies prefer a clear mandate to lead and govern.

"With our economy still fragile and the public finances in a dire state, the overwhelming concern is whether a hung Parliament will provide decisive action around the UK's unsustainable deficit.

"Whatever the outcome of the election, whether we have a coalition government or not, we must see a credible plan to reduce the deficit and restore confidence within 90 days."

The BCC has publicly agreed with the Conservatives' pledge to scrap part of next year's planned increase in National Insurance, and its survey was welcomed by the party.

The Liberal Democrats say they would be the guarantors of financial stability, whatever the outcome of the election.

Labour say they are fighting for a majority government, which would cut the deficit while protecting front-line services.

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