Summer Budget 2015: What do business owners want?

With the chancellor set to give his new Conservative budget on Wednesday, UK entrepreneurs outline the policies they would like Osborne to deliver...

Chancellor George Osborne will announce the summer Budget or “emergency Budget” on Wednesday 8 July and, with speculation mounting, we’ve compiled wish-lists from UK business owners on the policies they want the Conservatives to tackle.

As the first fully Conservative Budget since 1996, Osborne’s proposals will likely differ to the earlier spring Budget composed under the coalition – which included corporation tax cuts and support for creative industries – with rumours already circulating that there will be £12bn worth of spending cuts.

From taxes to regional support, leading British entrepreneurs discuss the policies they want Osborne to address:

Business rates reform

Central Working co-founder and CEO, James Layfield, has called for greater movement on business rates:

“Business rates are still in desperate need of reform if more entrepreneurs and start-ups are going to truly thrive, rather than simply survive. Small businesses fuel the UK economy but, while promising rate reform was announced in the Spring Budget, current legislation just doesn’t promote an ideal environment for small and medium enterprises. If we’re to see truly meaningful growth in this sector, the chancellor should use the upcoming Budget as an opportunity to promise further small business rate relief.”

Support for businesses across the UK, not just London

Nick Halstead, founder and CEO of DataSift, wants to see greater support for regional businesses:

“Osborne wants to put the UK economy on the right footing for the long term, so to do that he needs to ensure that measures aren’t focused on London alone. Up and down the UK start-ups and small and medium enterprises are driving growth at a macro and micro level, yet there are a disproportionate number of start-up communities in London. Much of the network that originally supported us was regional and has now been shut down – DataSift was originally funded by Finance South East. It would be great to see more investment in regional hubs.”

Late payments solutions

Concur UK SMB managing director, David Vine, believes Osborne still has some way to go to tackle late payments:

“[Late payments have recently] been placed firmly in the limelight within the retail industry. Late payments paralyse growth and innovation at a grass roots level. I hope to hear something on Wednesday about the promised Small Business Conciliation service as well as a measure that incentives larger companies to treat their suppliers better.”

Boost for UK manufacturing

Cobra Beer founder, Lord Karan Bilimoria, wants the government to capitalise on “Made in Britain” to drive growth:

“One of the British economy’s greatest deficits is in pride; we as a nation struggle to articulate the strengths of British industry to the world and this stunts our economic growth. The Treasury needs to do whatever it can to bolster these displays of pride in British exports by setting a target to raise the manufacturing sector’s share of UK GDP, which has dropped from 30% to little over 10% since the 1970s. We need a vision of a kind similar to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign, which aims to increase the share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP from 16% to 25%.

“Though, in Britain, manufacturing takes a smaller share of GDP than other industries, the sector makes up 45 per cent of all our exports. A strong manufacturing sector therefore plays a vital role in increasing the strength of our bonds with worldwide partners.”

Tax relief

Vince McLoughlin, partner at Russell New, believes that the summer Budget should focus equally on new policies and a commitment to the policies outlined in the spring Budget:

“Osborne needs to deliver on election promises that were made. These include raising the income tax personal allowance to £12,500 by the end of the term, meaning no tax is paid on earnings below that amount. I assume he will give a figure from next April, possibly £11,100. Pension relief will once again be targeted.

“We don’t seem to go many years without a change there. Tax relief has always been an important and attractive factor as far as funding for a pension is concerned. Restricting the amount of relief is an obvious target for the chancellor at a time when he has guaranteed no increase to other core elements of the tax system.”

Better IT infrastructure

Ian Parslow of MTI Technologies wants the government to do more to develop practical IT infrastructure:

“[In the spring Budget] the chancellor announced plans for a £140m  fund for supporting research into the Internet of Things, driverless cars and smart cities. This is exciting on the surface, but in terms of helping businesses grow and develop, this falls short of business practicality that small and medium enterprises with smaller resources require.

“Public sector investment would be better spent in ensuring that fast Internet connections and support structure are a standard – this will help to support the growing trends of flexible and remote working.

“Greater investment into the IT infrastructure of the main cities in the UK from the government can attract the attentions of foreign investors. This will only help in continuing the strong surge that our economy has experienced in the last couple of years.”

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