Extending auto-enrolment pensions to self-employed people, giving more public deals to small companies and blocking big corporates that don't have fair payment terms for suppliers from applying for government contracts are among the pledges in the Conservative's General Election manifesto.

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

Like Labour and the Liberal Democrats did earlier this week, the Tories claim to be the party of small business. "The Conservative Party is the party of enterprise and of the entrepreneur," it says in a 84-page document. 

"We understand that small businesses are the wellspring of growth. They form a key part of British life, valued for their contribution to every community across the country. 

"We will continue to support small businesses through business rate relief and low taxation, and by reducing the bureaucracy and regulation that prevents small businesses from flourishing." 

Here are the measures of interest to small businesses and the self-employed:

  • 33% of central government purchasing will come from SMEs by the end of the parliament
  • Ensure big contractors comply with Prompt Payment Code on government contracts and in work with others or lose the right to bid for government contracts
  • Work with the Post Office to extend the availability of business and banking services to small businesses in rural areas
  • Immigration Skills Charge to double to £2,000 per year for businesses that employ non-EU workers
  • Continue to extend auto-enrolment pensions to small employers and make it available to the self-employed
  • Ensure that people working in the 'gig economy' are properly protected
  • Business rate revaluations conducted more frequently to avoid large changes to bills, and explore the introduction of self-assessments in the valuation process
  • Conduct a full review of the business rates system
  • Corporation tax to fall to 17% by 2020
  • Open new British Business Bank offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newport
  • Fund the British Business Bank with the repatriated funds from the European Investment Fund once Britain leaves the EU
  • Consultation on how to extend safeguard energy tariff cap to micro-businesses
  • Give businesses the right to insist on a digital signature and the right to digital cancellation of contracts 
  • Introduce a full fibre connection voucher for companies across the country by 2018
  • Seek to replicate all existing EU free trade agreements and support ratification of trade agreements entered into during the UK's EU membership
  • Create a network of trade commissioners to head nine new regional overseas post
  • Reconvene the Board of Trade charged with ensuring the UK's increases exports from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England
  • Forge a new culture of exporting among UK businesses

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

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