The business community came together on 1st June for the FSB Question Time General Election Special held at Anglia Ruskin University and streamed live online to an audience of over 25,000 viewers.
Chaired by FSB Essex Chairman David Bell on the panel were; Nick Looby of Feet on the Ground representing the views of small business, Marcia Baldry from Anglia Ruskin University, Vicky Ford, Conservative Party candidate for Chelmsford, Karen Chilvers, Liberal Democrat candidate for Brentwood and Ongar, Peter Edwards, Labour Party candidate for Maldon, and Nigel Carter, UKIP candidate for Chelmsford.
The debate was lively and top of the agenda was Brexit. Questioners were keen to understand what each party would do to ensure the best deal for business in terms of access to European Markets and skills and immigration. The debate continued on to discuss funding for education and the challenges facing business in terms of essential skills and talent that young people need to enter the workplace. Concerns were raised over the level of funding in schools and how this would be resolved to ensure that businesses would not be training workability skills into new, young employees in the future.
Taxation came into the debate and the recent National Insurance rise and retraction mentioned with a discussion around consistency and ensuring that small business could operate in a low taxation economy so that business could continue to invest in growth and employment.
Over the course of the hour-long debate each candidate took part well in the debate and were challenged by Nick Looby on what the needs of small businesses are, and the online audience took part too- over 25,000 twitter accounts were reached during the course of the evening, 500 facebook viewers watched either during or after, and there were over 100 viewers on periscope.
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