With the General Election just around the corner, Norfolk and Waveney’s parliament hopefuls have been putting forward their plans for businesses.

Nationally, Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives have pledged to secure a strong economy, cutting tax for workers by dropping National Insurance by two pence.

They say they will support small business owners by scrapping self-employed National Insurance rates and fund 100,000 apprenticeships for young people by axing 'Mickey Mouse' university degrees.

Keir Starmer’s Labour promise to deliver economic stability through what it calls “securonomics”, adopting a “pro-business, pro-worker approach” for sustainable growth.

Labour also plans to create a state-owned energy company to make the country an “energy superpower”, which they say could create more than 50,000 jobs in the East.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir StarmerPrime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer (Image: PA)


What Norfolk and Waveney’s election candidates say

Norwich North’s Conservative candidate Charlotte Salomon is hoping to take over the reins from former MP Chloe Smith, who stood down after representing the constituency since 2009.

She said she is committed to securing a share of a £4.3 billion business rates support package to support small businesses and the high street in the Norwich North constituency.

"Additionally, we will work to ensure that small businesses receive a fairer share of public contracts and we have streamlined the public sector procurement process to achieve this goal," she said.

READ MORE: Meet the Instagram influencer who wants to become a Norfolk Tory MP

Charlotte Salomon pictured with prime minister Rishi SunakCharlotte Salomon pictured with prime minister Rishi Sunak (Image: Charlotte Salomon)

"Furthermore, we have made it easier and more affordable for small businesses to hire apprentices, creating new job opportunities and career paths for local residents that will benefit our economy for years to come.”

Labour's candidate for Norwich North is Alice Macdonald who said she plans to tackle late payments for small businesses and overhaul business rates.

Alice Macdonald, Labour's candidate for Norwich North Alice Macdonald, Labour's candidate for Norwich North (Image: Alice Macdonald)

"Norwich is filled with business success stories and, if elected, I want to help them grow," she said. 

"One way I will do that is through Labour’s Local Growth plans, which will bring together local partners to produce long-term plans that identify growth sectors and put in place the programmes and infrastructure they need to thrive."


Removing barriers for small business

Labour's Clive Lewis hopes to retain his Norwich South seat that he won from the Liberal Democrats in 2015.

Clive Lewis, Labour's candidate for Norwich SouthClive Lewis, Labour's candidate for Norwich South (Image: Archant)

He said Labour will reform business rates and remove barriers for small business exporters.

He said: "Our small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and essential to our city's economy.

"Labour will guarantee small businesses access to banking services on their high street, including safely depositing cash, by changing regulations to accelerate the rollout of banking hubs.

"We'll replace the business rates system with a new system that will level the playing field between the high street and online giants."

Former Jane Austen College headteacher David Thomas is hoping to win the seat for the Conservatives.

He said: "As an MP I would work hard to make it as easy as possible to start and run a successful business here in Norwich.

"Businesses need infrastructure like the Western Link and improvements at Ely Junction to be in place quickly to improve their supply chains. 

"Personally I would campaign for an investment zone in and around Norwich if I were elected, as I think we have huge potential that a little more work from government could really unlock."


Urgent action to save local businesses

The Broadland constituency, which Jerome Mayhew held for the Conservatives since 2019, has now become Broadland and Fakenham.

His opponents include Labour's Iain Simpson, who said he would push for changes for small businesses.

Iain Simpson, Labour's candidate for Broadland and FakenhamIain Simpson, Labour's candidate for Broadland and Fakenham (Image: Supplied)

"I want to help businesses across Broadland and Fakenham grow and thrive, and help them create the decent, well paid jobs that local people need," he said.

"Economic stability is at the heart of everything I'll do.

"We need to stamp out late payments - small businesses can't afford to wait months to get paid by big clients. Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business.

"We need this urgent action to save the local businesses at the heart of our high streets.

"Aylsham's last bank is due to shut next year, that will reduce footfall and hurt a thriving town.

"Fakenham is a beautiful place, but it's been neglected by North Norfolk council for years, and many shops in the town centre are vacant.

"Businesses can't afford a repeat of the chaos and cost pressures of recent years. Interest rates, energy costs, and input costs have all gone up. Things have to change."


Championing business investment

In North Norfolk, Conservative Duncan Baker will be looking to hold the seat he took from the Liberal Democrats in 2019.

Duncan Baker, the Conservative candidate for North NorfolkDuncan Baker, the Conservative candidate for North Norfolk (Image: Newsquest)

"People are worried that after the better economic picture of returning growth and inflation back to low levels, a potential Labour government and higher taxes could jeopardise the path the economy was on," he said.

"If I am returned as an MP, I want to continue championing business investment into the area, particularly for areas such as Bacton Gas terminal, which could see a major transition in the coming years to become a green energy hub."

The Lib Dems are hoping to win it back through Norfolk county councillor Steffan Aquarone.

Steffan Aquarone, the Liberal Democrats candidate for North NorfolkSteffan Aquarone, the Liberal Democrats candidate for North Norfolk (Image: Jason Bye)

"I think farmers have been deserted by the Tories - I don't think they have any policies for them and we need serious support for them in the absence of EU funding. I'm proud the Lib Dems will be committing £1bn a year to support farmers.

"I will also be campaigning for our high streets in our towns. For North Norfolk local business means the high street.

"I'm most proud of our proposals to get rid of business rates and replace them with a commercial landowner tax.

"I think this is the fairest way of extracting money from people who are sitting on commercial property and land, and instead reducing the burden on the businesses that make our communities."


Small businesses the backbone of the economy

With Sir Brandon Lewis standing down after 14 years as Great Yarmouth's MP, the Conservatives selected James Clark as their candidate.

He said: "As a small business owner myself we need to increase the threshold on which small businesses pay VAT and lower corporation tax.

"Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and they must be supported to create wealth across the country."

Labour's candidate Keir Cozens said the party will cap corporation tax at 25pc.

"We'll tackle empty properties, shoplifting, and support local entrepreneurship," he said. 

"Our goal is to make business fairer and simpler, driving economic growth." 

Reform UK is fielding Rupert Lowe, former chairman of Southampton Football Club, as its candidate.

Rupert Lowe, Reform UK's candidate for Great YarmouthRupert Lowe, Reform UK's candidate for Great Yarmouth (Image: Reform)

"We would abolish business rates for small businesses on high streets, lift the VAT threshold to £150,000, slash corporation tax, encourage apprenticeship investment and clean up the streets of Great Yarmouth," he said.

"Clamping down on anti-social behaviour which is plaguing Great Yarmouth and causing huge issues for local businesses.

"With the income tax threshold being raised to £20,000, meaning nobody will pay a penny of tax on money earned under that. All about putting money into people's pockets, not the government's. 

"We would scrap interest on student debt - it is bonkers to saddle our young with such debt. 

"I've worked in business all my life, built companies and created jobs. I know what Great Yarmouth needs to foster business.

"The Labour Party candidate, Keir Cozens, has never worked a real job in his life and has only ever worked in Labour Party politics since leaving University.

"Quite simply, he does not understand what business needs in Great Yarmouth. I do."