Neighbourhood retailers in England and Wales say they are preparing for another term under Labour, according to a straw poll among readers of The Grocer. They say the Conservative party is in such disarray it will fail to attract enough votes to make much of a dent on Blair's Commons majority. But the poll did reveal that small business owners believe the government has put intolerable pressure on the sector. Mace retailer David Westcott from Watchet, Somerset, said: "If Blair calls a General Election for June 7 ­ or whenever ­ he won't get my vote. "He has placed an unbearable burden on small businesses. Tax credits are a nightmare and although the new stakeholder pension scheme is not a massive job, it's something else we now have to do as unpaid servants of the government." Westcott said he was too "pro-British" to support the Euro-minded Liberal Democrats, so the Tories would get his vote. He believes no one in government is listening to the complaints of small business people, although the Association of Convenience Stores lobbies strongly on their behalf. Nick Griffin, who runs a convenience store in West Mersea, Essex, describes himself as a dyed in the wool Tory. He said: "William Hague will get my vote, but the party is in a terrible mess and unlikely to win. "I take everything Tony Blair says with a pinch of salt. He's all wind. Labour has done nothing to help small businesses. "They have given us a mountain of red tape to deal with and, if anything, have made cross-channel smuggling of tobacco and beer worse than it ever was. Labour doesn't understand the needs of business people ­ big or small." The picture is not so clear cut in Scotland where Eddie Thompson, head of the Morning Noon & Night c-store chain in Scotland, said small business had a good relationship with the Scottish parliament. He was satisfied with much of Labour's work, but declined to say which party would get his vote. He told The Grocer: "Labour must be congratulated on the formation of the Scottish Parliament. The Tories opposed it but, when they won 18 seats on it, gave it their backing." Thompson said the Scottish Retail Consortium, of which he is chairman, had a strong rapport with the Scottish parliament, and its voice was being heard. But he too believed the government was burdening small businesses with red tape. "The Scottish business vote will be split among the major parties, but legislation on maternity and paternity leave, wages and pensions, plus its inability to tackle smuggling and crime, will count against the government," he said. {{GROCER CLUB }}