Ninety tech entrepreneurs sign a letter praising the Conservative party ahead of general election
The letter to the newspaper praised the Tory party, and warned that a Labour government would be bad for jobs, growth and innovation if the country was to “change course”.
The 90 entrepreneurs who backed the Conservative Party include Brent Hoberman, a co-founder of Lastminute.com and Made.com; executive chairman of Shazam, Andrew Fisher; and Tim Steiner, chief executive and co-founder of Ocado.
Other signatories include Baroness Joanna Shields who is David Cameron’s digital adviser; Alex Chesterman, chief executive and co-founder of Zoopla; and Holly Tucker, founder and president of Notonthehighstreet. Others who also added their names are co-founders of other tech firms like Huddle, Transferwise and Hailo.
Venture capitalists such as Eileen Burbidge of Passion Capital and Sonali De Rycker of Accel also signed the letter.
“Between us we founded, funded or run some of Britain’s most successful start-ups,” the letter says. “Through the internet we serve your food, find your destination, send your money, book a taxi, identify a song you are hearing – and many other things besides. Our success has been the product of sleepless nights and days of hard work. Thanks to colleagues and customers we have started and grown great British businesses. But our success has also been helped by the government’s support.”
The letter then cited key government schemes that boost investments in start-ups, including the enterprise investment scheme, the research and development tax credits and the patent box.
Who are you backing in the 2015 General Election?
- Conservatives (32%)
- Labour (27%)
- UKIP (17%)
- SNP (10%)
- Green Party (5%)
- Liberal Democrat (3%)
- I'm not voting (3%)
- Undecided (2%)
- Plaid Cymru (1%)
- Other (0%)
“Just as important as individual schemes has been the government’s attitude,” said the letter. “It has enthusiastically supported start-ups, job-makers and innovators and the need to build a British culture of entrepreneurialism to rival America’s. Elsewhere in the world people are envious at how much support start-ups get in the UK. This Conservative-led government has given us wholehearted support and we are confident that it would continue to do so. It would be bad for jobs, bad for growth, and bad for innovation to change course,” they said.
“Obviously they are responsible for the job creation and the growth but the government really has got behind this… It is a really big success story,” Prime Minister David Cameron said in response to the letter, which he called an important intervention.
“When you look round Tech City now you see a huge amount of growth not just in London but in other offshoots,” said Cameron. “A lot of other European countries are extremely jealous that we have managed to capture this industry in the way we have.
“The next stage is to try and make sure we want the next Google, the next Amazon, the next Facebook here,” Cameron added. “We’ve got some great start ups and some brilliant thinking and ideas going on. But we want some of the giants too.”
TechweekEurope contacted the Labour party who said they did not have a response to the letter, saying that it was up to the individuals concerned who they supported. The Labour party did however point out that Simon Franks, founder of Lovefilm, has this week publicly backed the Labour Party.
“The biggest uncertainty facing business is the Tories’ pushing Britain towards the EU exit door,” a Labour Party spokesperson told TechweekEurope via email. “As HSBC’s announcement last week underlines, this is already putting vital jobs and investment at risk. Labour is working closely with businesses of all sizes and our policies have widespread support amongst the breadth of the business community across Britain.”
A full breakdown of the technology polices of each political party is provided here.
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