General Election 2010: business reaction

The prospect of a hung Parliament has prompted concerns among some in the business community that the political uncertainty may hinder the economic recovery.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said that the confusion caused by a hung Parliament could jeopardise and hamper business owners' attempts to plan ahead. 

According to FPB research, almost three quarters of small business owners were already finding it difficult to plan for 2010, even before this morning's general election result.

With a hung Parliament potentially threatening to hold up tax and spending proposals aimed at tackling Britain's record deficit, this uncertainly is likely to increase further, the FPB insisted.

Phil Orford, the FPB's chief executive, commented: "I expect many smaller businesses will be disappointed that the election has resulted in a hung Parliament.

"However, the outcome can't be changed so it is vital that the newly-elected MPs put aside party politics and work together to come up with a credible system of governance.

"With the economy still in a very precarious state and a mountain of public debt to be tackled, businesses owners need our elected representatives to move away from inter-party point-scoring and show political responsibility."

Mr Orford added: "Small businesses are the lifeblood of UK Plc. I would urge all the political parties to do everything they can to come to a swift, workable consensus in order to secure the prosperity of Britain's SMEs and the wider economy."

Commenting on the hung parliament, Miles Templeman, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said: "It's vital that this political vacuum is filled as quickly as possible. The country simply can’t afford an extended period of political horse trading which delays much needed action to tackle the deficit. Politicians have postponed the difficult decisions on public spending cuts for too long already. Further delay will only jeopardise the future of the UK economy."

Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), also voiced the need for urgency and collective action: "Companies across the UK have expressed significant concerns about how a hung parliament could affect the decisive action needed to cut the deficit and improve the business environment.

 "The electorate has spoken – and opted for a hung parliament. But the business community has also spoken – and expects the parties to put political horse-trading to one side and put the UK economy at the heart of their thinking. Strong leadership and consensus are required to deal with the serious threats still facing the economy.

 "British business wants to see a speedy resolution to political negotiations, the formation of a Government, and an agreed policy of putting the economy first."