Fintech in political party manifestos

What the different parties are promising for the UK fintech scene

With the UK general election just under three weeks away, the parties vying for your vote have laid out their manifestos. 

The manifestos cover everything from schools and hospitals to animal protection and farm laws. They also cover something that we’re particularly interested in: the UK fintech scene. 

We’ve taken a look at what each party is promising to deliver with regards to UK fintechs, should they be elected. 

Conservatives

Traditionally the party of business, it’s no surprise to see fintechs explicitly mentioned in the Conservative manifesto. 

Whilst they do mention the UK fintech scene specifically, their focus is on “securing the UK’s position as a world leader in innovation”, and their manifesto focuses on this more broadly. 

They say they’ll: 

  • increase public spending on research and design (R&D) to £22bn a year 
  • maintain our R&D tax reliefs 
  • continue investing over £1.5bn in large-scale compute clusters 
  • provide a £4.5bn commitment to secure strategic manufacturing sectors including automotive, aerospace, life sciences and clean energy 
  • build on the success of our nine specialist Catapults 

The manifesto mentions that the Conservative party are proud the UK is “the leading market for starting and growing a FinTech firm” – and though they make no mention of maintaining this, one can only assumed it’s implied! 

As anticipated from the Conservatives, there’s strong support for the fintech sector, as well as the future in general. It’ll be interesting to see their support for AI in action should they buck the trend of recent polls and be re-elected. 

Number of times fintech is mentioned: 1 

Labour 

Despite traditionally being the party of labour – hence their name – Kier Starmer has promised to put businesses first, and the Labour manifesto backs this up. 

With regards to fintech, Labour states that: “Financial services are one of Britain’s greatest success stories. Labour will create the conditions to support innovation and growth in the sector, through supporting new technology, including Open Banking and Open Finance and ensuring a pro-innovation regulatory framework.” 

Their mentions of Open Banking and Open Finance are encouraging; the transition from one to the next is key to the future of fintech, and if they’re voted in–as polls suggest they will be–it’ll be fascinating to see how they actually facilitate this in practice. 

Number of times fintech is mentioned: 0 

Liberal Democrats (lib dems) 

In contrast to the two main parties, the lib dems put people ahead of business. They talk heavily about the economy, but their focus is on individuals and small businesses, and how they’ll support them. 

The only time they mention financial services is when they say: “Regulating financial services to encourage climate-friendly investments, including requiring pension funds and managers to show that their portfolio investments are consistent with the Paris Agreement.” Whilst it’s no surprise to see the lib dems take this approach, for the fintech sector it’s hardly encouraging! 

They do state that they’ll “make the UK a world leader in ethical, inclusive new technology, including artificial intelligence, and a global centre for the development, manufacture and export of clean technologies,” although without elaborating on this in any great detail it’s hard to image what this will look like should the lib dems take office on 5 July. 

Number of times fintech is mentioned: 0 

Green Party 

Much like the lib dems, the Green Party are less focused on business. Their manifesto puts the climate at the centre, with everything they plan to do based around it. 

Their mentions of financial services are few and far between – although it should be noted their manifesto is much shorter than those of other parties, coming in at just 28 pages, compared to 80 for the Conservatives, 117 for the lib dems, and 136 for Labour. 

The Green Party say: “Financial services have a crucial part to play in achieving a rapid transition to a zero carbon economy and ensuring that nature is protected,” and they add: “Green MPs would work to make this industry a force for good.” 

It’s encouraging that they’re putting faith in the financial services industry, although with little onus on fintechs specifically it’s hard to be too enthusiastic. They also make no mention of AI, which is a little concerning. It may not be a focus of theirs, but it’s here and isn’t going anywhere, so they at least will need to address it. 

Number of times fintech is mentioned: 0 

Other parties 

Two other large parties who are running for election in the UK this year – Plaid Cymru and Reform UK – make no mention of fintech, saying they’ll support the UK economy but not being a great deal more specific around financial services. The SNP manifesto is expected to be released later today, Wednesday 19 June.

Related news: former French president François Hollande spoke about fintech at Money20/20 in Amsterdam.

Photo by Marcin Nowak on Unsplash

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Robert Welbourn
Robert Welbourn is an experienced financial writer. He has worked for a number of high street banks and trading platforms. He's also a published author and freelance writer and editor.