We interviewed key politicians from the major parties to find out what they would do for the insurance industry, if elected

John Redwood, Shadow Secretary of State for Deregulation (Conservative, MP Wokingham)

On regulation and the role of the FSA:
The Conservative Party advocates reducing regulation in two ways. First, the government needs to create better alliances within Europe. After securing a ‘no' vote to a European constitution, we will renegotiate our arrangements with other nations to remove regulations. Second, we will stop the excessive implementation of ‘gold-plating', whereby already cumbersome EU regulations are expanded upon when adopted in the UK.

The FSA has become too complex, too big and too expensive. We are in the process of putting together a broad-reaching review of the FSA to be published within the next month. In it we suggest that 8,000 pages of FSA regulations is excessive, particularly given that the vast majority of companies are compliant.

Box ticking and inspections are not always the best way to do what the public wants you to do - catch the villains.

On the rise of the UK compensation culture:
There is a definite need for regulators and legislators to keep escalating claims under control. Nobody begrudges people making legitimate claims, but there does need to be some form of limit to avoid damaging businesses that are otherwise doing a good job.

The compensation culture is fuelled by too many regulatory bodies and by too much law, creating traps for those seeking to provide services. We don't want to deny redress, but there is a danger that fear of litigation will get so out of control that it scares people off from running a business at all.

On what the Conservative Party proposes to do to help the insurance industry:
An insurance industry that votes Conservative will be protected from increased taxes.The government has borrowed far more than it admits to or foresaw, and this will lead to financial difficulties. We propose reductions in public spending, and have allocated £8bn to avoid the third term tax rises we will get from Labour.

We propose wider small business exemptions. It is the cumulative impact of all this regulation that burdens them, and we will attempt to cut that back.

On the government's role in alleviating the spiralling cost of EL cover:
The government has to provide a legal framework through which people can enter into contracts. It must supervise a competitive market place to make sure that there is enough choice and competition in the market.

But you have to allow the competitive market place to work it out. If EL charges are high relative to the likely cost, other people will come in and offer something cheaper. Premiums seem to have shot up because insurers feel the risks have increased.

On how to deal with uninsured drivers:
We would place more police on the streets and make sure police priorities reflect those of the public. More police time and resources should be spent on tackling the incompliant - those driving without insurance included.

The present government's fascination with speed control is not working and accidents continue to go up. It is more likely that an uninsured motorist will be the kind of driver to cause a serious accident. The main problem is that they think they can get away with it.

Why you should vote for the Conservatives:
We will call for an early referendum to secure a ‘no' vote in the European constitution. Opinion polls show there has been a consistently big margin that the public are against it. Business will benefit from a markedly reduced regulatory burden as a result.

We say to business, beware, the government's figures don't add up. This is not just our view, it is the view of most independent bodies too. Vote Conservative and be protected from increased taxes.

Stephen TimmsTreasury minister (Labour, MP East Ham)

On regulation and the role of the FSA:
The introduction of the FSA is a welcome change. I wouldn't want to put the clock back. It is certainly the view around the world that the FSA is seen as a state-of-the-art regulator.

If you look at what has happened to London as a financial services centre over the past few years we have seen a big consolidation of London's importance. London is the financial services centre of Europe now. That strengthening of London's position has coincided with the period in which the FSA has been active.

On the rise of the UK compensation culture:
We have seen a static trend in the number of compensation claims, and last year the figure went down by almost 10%. The commentary has been misleading. Having said that, there is a concern, for example school trips. School governors are behaving in a more risk-averse way than they should be.

On what the government proposes to do to help the insurance industry:
The Chancellor's decision to adopt the Hampton Review will reduce the number of organisations involved in the regulatory process and reduce the number of inspections. People will quickly see the benefits of that. He also recommended a much more risk-based approach to regulation, rather than a standard tick-box type of approach. There will be no inspections without reason.

On the government's role in alleviating the spiralling cost of EL cover:
The role for government is to recognise the changes since 9/11. The DWP published a review at the end of 2003. The OFT published a study in June 2003, and is at the moment putting together a follow-up review.

My impression is that we have seen some very welcome developments in the wake of those reviews. The government did take a number of short-term measures, and the evidence is that the rate of increase in premiums is now slacking and problems have eased. It is something we need to keep under review. One of the most important things we can do is make sure SMEs have access to information on the market and the options available.

On how to deal with uninsured drivers:
We have worked closely with the industry. A report was published on 11 August and there has been a very rapid legislative response.

There are measures in the current Road Safety Bill relating to the better use of number plate recognition cameras, and powers for the police to seize uninsured vehicles in the Serious Organised Crime Agency Bill.

The Greenaway Report came out last August and there are already two pieces of legislation making improvements. This is an area which is an excellent example of industry and the government working together to tackle a serious problem. We have a significantly higher proportion of people driving uninsured in the UK than the rest of Europe, and these changes will help.

Why you should vote for Labour:
Historically, the Conservative Party has been associated more closely with business but that's changed over the past eight years and the determination we have shown in improving education and boosting skills, increasing the numbers staying on in higher education, has worked. All of these, I believe, are essential for Britain's future prosperity and that view is very widely shared across business.

Malcolm Bruce, spokesman responsible for DTI (Liberal Democrats, MP for Gordon)

On regulation and the role of the FSA:
We would take a long, hard look at the FSA and UK regulation and establish how we could reduce the cost, because it is too expensive. I would also want to determine whether or not it is actually over-regulating in certain areas. The FSA is not explaining its policies properly.

On the rise of the UK compensation culture:
There are areas where no-fault compensation is practical, particularly for the insurance industry because you can cap it, namely you will pay no-fault compensation up to a certain amount in order to avoid litigation. A lot of people would be happy with some gesture, some reasonable no-fault compensation.

On what the Lib Dems propose to do to help the insurance industry:
There are examples of ridiculous policies on household goods for example that are a complete con. If you need some repairs done, then you're better off just paying out when you need them.

On the government's role in alleviating the spiralling cost of EL cover:
The apportionment of risk should be fairer. Small businesses appear to be paying premiums out of proportion in comparison to larger business. There is a situation where a small business has never had a claim paying a huge increase in premiums. There is responsibility for the industry to be risk precise.

In terms of a fallback EL fund, there is one in place for the motoring industry so I don't see why there shouldn't be for EL. If a business is underinsured or uninsured it is a bit hard on a member of the public to be told they have got no compensation rights.

Why you should vote for the Lib Dems:
What we are suggesting is a deregulatory unit that reviews all regulation. We would requirenew regulations to go through an independent impact assessment and we would require sunset clauses. Regulation should be simpler and more transparent .

Gerard Batten, UK Independence Party (UKIP) MEP for London Region

On regulation and the role of the FSA:
About 70% of regulation facing UK business comes from the EU. We advocate unconditional withdrawal. Regulations should come from our own democratically-elected government and not from Europe.

On the rise of the UK compensation culture:
We should withdraw from the Human Rights Act and let the Lord Chancellor issue fresh guidelines making the courts much less of a soft touch.

There is absolutely a compensation culture - look at the number of no-win, no-fee companies springing up, and the problems with school trips.

We need to harden up and re-define the law so only really clear-cut cases receive compensation. There is a problem in the UK where there is no element of risk in society and that is wrong.

On what UKIP proposes to do to help the insurance industry:
If we left the EU, the government, would save £11bn tomorrow, and that could be spent on revitalising industry. Business spends £20m per annum on EU regulation.

On how to deal with uninsured drivers:
Drivers should show a certificate for insurance on their vehicles, like the road tax. If any vehicle doesn't show it, it should be impounded. Repeat offenders should be punished more severely. Anyone caught without insurance three times should be locked up.

Why you should vote for UKIP:
We are aware that we are not going to win the next election, and gaining seats is very difficult under the first past the post system. Our aim is to win three to four seats, then we will have disproportionate representation and can represent what the UK really wants.