BBC HOMEPAGE | NEWS | WORLD SERVICE | SPORT | MY BBC low graphics | help
news vote 2001search vote 2001
 You are in: Vote2001: Main Issues
VOTE2001 
Main Issues 
Correspondent Analysis 
Crucial Seats 
Key People 
Parties 
Results &  Constituencies 
Candidates 
Opinion Polls 
Online 1000 
Virtual Vote 
Talking Point 
Forum 
AudioVideo 
Programmes 
Voting System 
Local Elections 
Nations 

N Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 

BBC News

BBC Sport

BBC Weather
Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 13:49 GMT
Liberal Democrats: Business and employment

Find out more about Liberal Democrat party policies on business and employment.


BURDEN ON BUSINESS

The Liberal Democrats are committed to a free market economy and would work to reduce the burdens on business.

They would introduce 'sunset clauses' into new legislation, which would automatically lapse after a certain period.

Businesses would also be consulted before the introduction of new laws.

To reduce the administrative burden, particularly on small businesses, the Lib Dems will pay the Working Families Tax Credit as a benefit and introduce a single Small Business Inspectorate to avoid overlap of regulations and improve compliance.

They will reduce the uniform business rate for small businesses by introducing a Business Rates Allowance, similar to personal tax allowances. The allowance will be set at 1,500 for all small businesses.

Larger businesses will pay slightly more to fund it.

Ethical business practice is also central to the Lib Dem's philosophy and they would reform corporate governance to enhance shareholders' rights.

Big companies would be required to report on their social and environmental performance.

The Lib Dems would also scrap Labour's Climate Change Levy, which they claim is too complicated, and replace it with a new tax, which will fall on energy use according to its carbon content.

They will also speed up improvements in roads and local infrastructure.

But, the party argues, the most important measure to help business would be membership of the single European currency.


WORKPLACE RIGHTS

The Liberal Democrats believe in extending rights in the workplace.

They are the only one of the three main parties committed to an annual review of the minimum wage and abolishing the lower rate for 18-to-21-year-olds.

They would also guarantee greater employee participation in decision making and encourage employee share ownership and profit-related pay.

Family friendly working hours would also be promoted and improvements to childcare provision and the rights of home workers introduced.

The Lib Dems would also introduce a flexible retirement age and enhance legislation against discrimination on grounds of disability, gender or sexual orientation.

The Health and Safety Executive would also be given new powers to investigate breaches of its rules.


CONSUMER RIGHTS

The Liberal Democrats are in favour of tough regulations to defend consumer rights.

They would set up a new code of practice for banks to regulate their dealings with small businesses, which came in for strong criticism in last year's Cruickshank report and from the Competition Commission.

The Lib Dems would also review the regulation of the life insurance industry.

They have also pledged to take tougher action against monopolies and cartels in telecommunications, broadcasting and civil aviation.

They have pledged to strengthen consumer protection in transactions with banks, mortgage companies and to combat 'cowboy' builders and other rogue traders.

Measures to protect the Post Office and sub-post office network would also be introduced.


THE NEW ECONOMY

The Liberal Democrats are committed to increasing internet access.

But they are sceptical about Labour's pledge of internet access for all schools, arguing that such a target is meaningless if there is only one access point for a large number of pupils.

Like the Conservatives, the Lib Dems have promised to take another look at Labour's controversial IR35 tax law, which has proved highly unpopular with freelance IT consultants.

The party has also promised to review the regulation of the internet.

It believes Labour's RIP Act, which gives government the right to intercept electronic communications, represents a serious infringement of civil liberties.

 A/V CONSOLE
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS


Issues Finder

PARTY POLICIES
Business and
employment

PARTY WEB LINKS



The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

©BBC