Making corporation tax fairer by basing it on factors like turnover, reforming business rates and providing the founders of new start-ups with an allowance to help with living costs are among the pledges for entrepreneurs in the Liberal Democrat General Election manifesto.

Put your questions to candidates and spokespeople from the main political parties at Enterprise Nation's free General Election small business debate in London on 18 May. Book your place here.

"The role of entrepreneurs and small businesses in delivering a thriving economy is fundamental," the party says in its 97 manifesto.

"Liberal Democrats believe there is a vital need for access to finance for new businesses, and those wishing to scale up. Creating true competition means allowing new businesses to rise and challenge established companies. 

"There are also many well-established small businesses and traders which form the backbone of local economies. Our priority in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses is to ensure that they have access to the funding they need, and in particular long-term (and patient) capital."

The party makes the following pledges:

  • Expand the state-owned British Business Bank to boost funding for growing and medium-sized firm
  • Create a new 'start-up allowance' of £100 up to maximum of £2,600 to help with living costs
  • Mentoring support for fast-growing businesses
  • Reviewing business rates by recognising the development of the digital economy, lessening the burden on small companies , and ensuring high streets remain competitive
  • Reform the Regulatory Policy Committee to remove unnecessary regulation
  • Double the number of SMEs in the digital economy by supporting ICT capital expenditure by businesses in non-digital sectors
  • Build on the success of Tech City, Tech North and the Cambridge tech clusters with a network across the UK acting as incubators for technology companies
  • Create a new retail and business strategy to look at the impact of new technology on jobs in key sectors.
  • Commit to build digital skills in the UK and retain coding on the national curriculum in England.
  • Support growth in the creative industries by continuing to support the Creative Industries Council and tailored industry-specific tax support
  • Reforming corporation tax to benefit small companies and ensure big firms cannot avoid paying sums comparable to nationally based competitors 
  • Consultation on shifting away from a profits-based tax to one that takes account of a wider  range of economic activity indicators, such as sales and turnover

The headline issue in the Liberal Democrat manifesto is Brexit with the party pledging a second EU referendum.

"The Liberal Democrats want you to have your choice over your future," party leader Tim Farron said.

"You should have your say on the Brexit deal in a referendum. And if you don't like the deal you should be able to reject it and choose to remain in Europe."

Put your questions to candidates and spokespeople from the main political parties at Enterprise Nation's free General Election small business debate in London on 18 May. Find out more here.

Keep up-to-date with the issues that matter in our small business General Election tracker

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