Northwest UK Raises Key Election Points

In the run-up to Thursday's general election in the UK, a lot of focus tends to be placed on the capital and its financial center known as The City of London. But the three main candidates for the role of Prime Minister know that if they stand any hope of securing the top job, they have to look north for support.

UK Deficit Looms Large
UK Deficit Looms Large

CNBC's Ross Westgate went to the city of Manchester to speak to business leaders and gauge the political mood.

None of the leading political parties, Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat, are being up front about their plans to tackle the ballooning pubic deficit, Angie Robinson, CEO of Manchester Chamber of Commerce, told CNBC.

- Watch the full interview with Angie Robinson above.

"Business, like everyone else, is actually very disappointed that nobody is actually being extremely square in terms of what action they're going to take," Robinson said.

"We're rather hoping that somebody's got some plans and we were rather hoping that somebody would be prepared to share their plans," she added.

Robinson stressed that businesses need the right set of conditions in order to grow and create jobs and wealth. It is only the private sector that can pull the UK economy out of its slump, according to Robinson.

TNT CEO on UK Economy
TNT CEO on UK Economy

"What we're looking for is a strong government that will create and manufacture action that's good for the business environment in the UK," Nick Wells, CEO of TNT Post UK, told CNBC.

TNT which specializes in mail services in Britain has benefited from a liberalization of the postal regulations over the last six years and avoided the worst effects of the recession, according to Wells.

- Watch the full interview with Nick Wells above.

But Wells is calling for a "level playing field" when it comes to Value Added Tax (VAT) from whoever gets into power after May 6.  Wells pointed out that Royal Mail enjoys exemption from the tax while its competitors have to struggle with it.

Soccer is Key for Manchester
Soccer is Key for Manchester

The City of Manchester, which is key area for politicians to sway ahead of the election, has quite a strong level of global awareness, due in part to soccer club Manchester United, Duncan Drasdo, CEO of MUST (Manchester United Supporters' Trust), told CNBC.

"It reaches out right across the world and actually projects Manchester the city because of the fame of the football club," Drasdo said. 

- Watch the full interview with  Duncan Drasdo above.

Manchester is also developing into a international hub for airlines, according to James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways.

"Manchester is a very important destination for Etihad Airways," Hogan said.

It offer customers an alternative to the airports of London so they can bypass the capital and get them direct to global destinations, he added.