Small businesses beware – the main parties are after your vote and promise to denude their respective magic money trees to pay for their pledges.

It is an understandable ploy – nearly a million UK businesses have closed in the past three years, according to a Lib Dem analysis which largely blames Brexit uncertainty.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics, suggest 978,285 businesses closed their doors between 2016 and 2018 – a 28% rise from the 765,000 that shut over the previous three years.

That is why that party has promised to scrap business rates to help small firms and will provide greater support for entrepreneurs. They plan to introduce a new land value tax on landlords, and expand the “future high streets fund” to support redevelopment in town centres and high streets.

The Conservatives say they will reduce business rates for smaller firms and give them a larger discount on National Insurance payments.

While Labour say they will base a network of small business advisors in Post Office branches. Those advisers would form part of a wider agency to help firms access advice and bid for government contracts.

All three plans are attractive, but details of how they would be implemented and paid for are sketchy at best. Like everything else in this bonkers election, who you trust to deliver is the key point – and trust is as rare as a snowball in a furnace.

But at least this is a serious issue, unlike the scare-mongering, temper tantrums and name-calling that has dominated for the last few weeks. 

Saving the High Streets of Britain – everything from family butchers to craft breweries – is an issue affecting generations and it is good to see the main parties addressing it.

Elsewhere, on the other hand, this “you couldn’t make it up election” continued as before.

Jeremy Corbyn claimed he always watched the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day morning – it is broadcast in the afternoon. 

Labour grandee Lord Falconer challenged Unite union leader Len McClusky’s claim that Corbyn should cling on as Leader if defeated at the polls.

Controversial ex-Commons Speaker John Bercow was picked by Channel 4 to deliver its Alternative Christmas Message.

Nigel Farage lashed out at Jacob Rees-Mogg’s sister Annunziata for quitting the Brexit Party along with three other MEPs and urging voters to back Boris.  

Boris, asked how he relaxes before bedtime, replied: “Apart from doing a few quadratic equations, reading pre-Socratic philosophy …nothing complicated.”

Men and women fought and died to gain the vote – and this is the choice we have today.

ROUND 13: Tories 7/10

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