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Business leaders' hung parliament BLUES

PUBLISHED: 16:48 29 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:40 23 August 2010

FEDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESS: Deb Sen.

FEDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESS: Deb Sen.

BUSINESS owners fear a hung parliament will destabilise the British economy further and delay recovery from the crippling recession. They claim trade will take a hit from consumers uncertain about the future and from other countries which may send the po

BUSINESS owners fear a hung parliament will destabilise the British economy further and delay recovery from the crippling recession.

They claim trade will take a hit from consumers uncertain about the future and from other countries which may send the pound tumbling in value.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg's increasing popularity since the Presidential-style debates raised fears that no one party will win the general election.

With the last of three televised debates due to be screened tonight town centre business owners are urging residents to vote, in what is the most important election in decades.

Alex Stuckey at Flower Heaven said: "As a small business we are edging away from this recession very slowly. Possibly with the amount of infighting that is already going on between the parties there would not be any clear leadership.

"That would damage consumer confidence and therefore could result in what they say is a double dip.

"I would like to see clear leadership from one party - whoever gets the job is going to have to be quite robust in their approach to the next few years.

"So many people are disillusioned and don't know which way to vote, it is a great concern"

Bob Atkinson, manager of Stamps and Hobbies in the High Street echoed his fears.

He said: "There are no real answers either way, all I worry about is that it will show lack of confidence at home and abroad.

"I can't see why it should have a negative impact but it is just the attitude that would be adopted. There shouldn't be any problems, to be fair, with a hung parliament, you can still run a country, but it's the message that it sends out.

"A lack of confidence with other countries dealing with us worries me as to what will happen to the pound.

"If the pound was devalued it would affect all of us and it would affect not just my business but everybody right across the board."

He added: "In the history of elections this is probably one of the most important ever and it is extremely important to vote as there would be no good moaning about it afterwards if you haven't voted."

Business leaders have also expressed their fears, with many businesses owners still struggling with low consumer spending due to the ongoing recession.

Reluctant banks who refuse to release vital cash flows which helps firms operate on a day-to-day basis continues to hamper businesses, according to Deb Sen, chairman of the north Kent branch of the national Federation of Small Businesses.

He said: "What we are looking for is a climate of stability and a hung parliament could have an impact by creating uncertainty and delays, in the very short term

"We need to know what will be happening with business support and whether things are going to change at all. For example, what will happen to Business Link, the advisory service?

"We also need to know how this would impact on getting finance from banks. We need to have access to finance to grow our businesses. Will things be any easier for sound businesses to finance their growth?"

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found that 65 per cent of 300 firms it polled were either "concerned" or "very concerned" about having no clear winner.

Director-general of the BCC David Frost, said: "With our economy still fragile and the public finances in a dire state, the overwhelming concern is whether a hung parliament will provide decisive action around the UK's unsustainable deficit.

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