Tories plot letter from SME backers in last-ditch bid to turn election tide

The Conservative Party will on Wednesday unveil a letter signed by scores of small business-owners in a last-ditch bid to convince undecided voters that they can be trusted as the stewards of Britain's economy.

Sky News understands that the Tories are planning to publish a letter signed by between 100 and 150 SME bosses that will argue that a Labour government would risk damaging their business.

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Sources said the letter was expected to be released on Wednesday, the final day before Britain goes to the polls.

Neither the text of the letter nor the names of the signatories were clear on Tuesday.

A business-owner approached to sign it, but who declined, said he was surprised the Tories had not done more to exploit differences between the two main parties on potential capital gains tax changes during the campaign.

One insider described it as "a last-ditch bid" to reverse some of the momentum behind Labour, which has published a series of letters during the election campaign backed by businesspeople.

One of those, however, was widely derided for featuring the name of just one FTSE-100 chair or CEO - the JD Sports Fashion chairman Andrew Higginson.

Another focused on proposed reforms of the Apprenticeship Levy.

Letters with the endorsement of business leaders have become a regular feature of UK political campaigns, with the Tories historically able to command significant support from prominent figures.

The absence of such a letter during this campaign has been perceived as a reflection of the party's poor performance in the polls and its recent record in government.

The Conservative Party declined to comment.