THE government must provide better training for young people to help them get into work.
That is the top issue businesses want addressed by the party that clinches power after the general election.
And local firms want more money spent on road, rail and air travel – and say there should be a ‘tougher stance’ taken on those claiming benefits.
The findings were put together by Portsmouth law firm Coffin Mew, which asked company leaders what changes they wanted to see in the next parliament, as part of its South Coast Business Manifesto.
Local companies were asked questions on issues around the election – with 58 per cent of the 110 that responded saying they want a majority Conservative government in power.
The Lib Dems came in at second with 16 per cent, Ukip were next with 13 per cent, Labour came in at eight per cent and last were the Greens with five per cent.
They are looking for people with more skills, people with the right skills, and they want better links around the country.Nick Gross, Coffin Mew chairman
Nick Gross, chairman of Coffin Mew, said in light of the results: ‘Businesses are feeling positive.
‘And because they are feeling positive, they are looking for things which will enable them to grow, rather than just re-structure, which has been the case for the past five years since the last election.
‘They are looking for people with more skills, people with the right skills, and they want better links around the country.’
Fifty-one per cent of firms said they wanted the UK to stay in the EU on current terms, compared with 49 per cent who said the country should leave if its deal cannot be renegotiated.
Sixty per cent said they would prefer more money spent on improving Gatwick Airport rather than Heathrow.
Councillor John Ferrett, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth North, said it was a ‘concern’ confidence in Labour was low.
‘I’d clearly want to reassure businesses that Labour is still committed to developing a strong economy,’ he said.
Cllr Donna Jones, Conservative leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘The skills agenda and the skills shortage, particularly here in the Solent, is really important feedback.’
The identities of the businesses were not revealed in the survey results but were from a mix of industries across the area.
Businesses outline changes they want to see happen
LAW firm Coffin Mew has come up with a top-10 list of changes businesses want to see in the next parliament. They are:
1) Preparing young people for the workplace.
2) More investment in road, rail and air travel.
3) Adopting a tougher stance on who claims benefits.
4) Introduction of a flexible fuel duty allowing businesses to budget better.
5) Raise inheritance tax threshold to £1m.
6) Government should take back responsibilities such as money laundering checks.
7) Greater planning reform to encourage new house building.
8) Maintain charging employees who bring cases to employment tribunal.
9) Help businesses to grow by offering funding in return for equity stake in that company.
10) Make it easier for businesses to hire overseas staff.