The Conservatives have received praise from 90 tech entrepreneurs, who have written to the Guardian to say it would be bad for jobs, growth and innovation to “change course”.
The company executives, who endorsed the Conservative-led government for supporting the tech industry, include Brent Hoberman, a co-founder of Lastminute.com and Made.com as well as a non-executive at Guardian Media Group; Andrew Fisher, executive chairman of Shazam; and Tim Steiner, chief executive and co-founder of Ocado.
Other signatories include David Cameron’s digital adviser and Tory peer, Baroness Joanna Shields; Alex Chesterman, chief executive and co-founder of Zoopla; and Holly Tucker, founder and president of Notonthehighstreet.
The letter, which is signed by the businessmen and women in a personal capacity, says: “Between us we founded, funded or run some of Britain’s most successful start-ups.
“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.”
It lists key schemes to boost investment in start-ups, such as the enterprise investment scheme, the research and development tax credits and the patent box, which they said they would like to continue after May’s general election.
“Just as important as individual schemes has been the government’s attitude. 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.
In response, Conservative leader David Cameron called it an important intervention.
“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. When you look round Tech City now you see a huge amount of growth not just in London but in other offshoots. 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. We’ve got some great start ups and some brilliant thinking and ideas going on. But we want some of the giants too.”
It is the latest in a series of letters from business leaders endorsing the Conservative party, including 100 company chiefs who wrote to the Telegraph.
Earlier this week, another letter from 5,000 small business owners was ridiculed for having originated from Conservative headquarters and having at least 45 duplicate names on it, including one man who signed it four times.
Labour responded to the first letter to the Telegraph by gathering signatures from a “true cross-section of British society” for a letter from 100 working people.
The Labour letter, signed by actors, business leaders, writers, nurses and a host of low-paid workers, said: “We come from all walks of life – this is what Britain looks like.”
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