Posted on April 20, 2017 by staff

Businesses predict ‘overwhelming’ Tory victory


The Conservative Party is set for a landslide victory in June’s snap General Election, according to some of the country’s top business leaders.

Prime Minister Theresa May shocked the country on Tuesday when she announced voters would be going back to the polls on June 8.

A straw poll of the 90-strong audience at BusinessCloud’s Lancashire Powerhouse conference in Lytham on Wednesday, found the Tories had significantly more support than any other party.

David Haythornthwaite, chairman of Lytham-based manufacturer Tangerine Group, said he’d be supporting the Conservatives in the forthcoming election.

“I think Theresa May realises she needs a bigger majority to put through the change that we need,” he told BusinessCloud. “The current majority of 12 makes it really difficult for her.

“Also she’s been accused of not having a mandate because she was never actually elected. She’s going to the country to get that mandate and I think she’ll get an overwhelming one.”

William Fletcher (above), managing director of Preston-based Recycling Lives, said: “I think the General Election will be good for the Conservative Party because I think they’ll win a landslide victory.

“My concern is that any strong democracy needs a strong opposition and I think Labour is going to get decimated.”

Mark Woodward is the CEO of Clitheroe-based Printed Cup Company and says a fifth of the company’s workforce are EU nationals.

He said: “I want to hear from Theresa May that we’ll have the availability of the European workforce to call upon if we can’t employ people locally. In some ways the General Election is fantastic because if Theresa May gets the backing that she might get, we’ve got certainty for Brexit – and that’s what we want.”

David Jones is the managing director of German-owned manufacturer VEKA UK, which employs 380 staff at its site in Burnley.

He said: “The biggest challenge at the moment is around Brexit and the exchange rate. That affects our raw material costs because we import such a lot.

“The snap General Election makes it very interesting because all the balls are back up in the air again. Theresa May is opportunistic in doing it but I think it is the right thing to do.”

Stephen Johnson (above) is the co-founder and director of software testing solutions provider ROQ. It has grown from a small office-based team in Preston to a state-of-the-art 150-seat, purpose-built test lab near Chorley.

He said: “I was half surprised by the General Election but I think Theresa May is right in wanting to give stability to the Brexit negotiations. It makes perfect sense and in my view she’s a shoo-in to get in.”

Jeremy Lefton (above), managing director of Roundhouse Properties, said he was hoping the General Election would signal a period of stability.

“The more certainty and stability there is the more people can plan and invest money,” he said. “Once Brexit and the General Election are out the way then people can place. People need to be able to see three, four and five years ahead.”

The Lancashire Powerhouse conference was sponsored by Roundhouse Properties and was held as part of the St George’s Day Festival.