IoD budget plea to ‘unleash entrepreneurialism’

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The Institute of Directors has urged the Government to “unleash entrepreneurialism” across the UK in its Budget submission.

It called on the Chancellor to boost investment in dynamic start-ups and scale-ups through targeted reliefs and extra incentives aimed at new companies outside London and the South East.

As well as pressing ahead with upgrades to broadband, rail and roads, other recommendations to boost innovation include helping Britain’s universities collaborate more with local small and mid-sized firms.

To help smaller firms adjust to the post-Brexit landscape and capitalise on potential trading opportunities, the IoD pressed the Treasury to issue Brexit planning vouchers, launch a new “Single Window” to streamline import and export procedures, and widen take-up of the Government’s Export Finance and Tradeshow Access Programme.

Tej Parikh of the IoD
Tej Parikh: upgrades are overdue

The submission to the Chancellor also called for measures to ease the high costs businesses face. These included a business rate holiday for firms who improve or expand their premises. With survey data showing that around 1 in 3 members said a reduction in the regulatory burden was an immediate priority, the IoD said the Government should go further and faster on its promised ‘EU Red Tape Challenge’ by extending it to cover domestic regulation, starting with a delay to IR35.

Tej Parikh, IoD Chief Economist, said: “After years of parliamentary upheaval, businesses are undoubtedly enthused by the prospect of a Budget that can set out a clear, long-term vision for our economy.

“The Prime Minister has talked about ‘levelling up’ the regions. Long-overdue upgrades to broadband, rail and roads will be crucial, but the Government also needs to create the conditions for companies to take risks and innovate today to raise our game on productivity and sustainability.

“Boosting investment in new and growing firms is key, as is ensuring they have the skills they need to thrive. We can also do more to leverage the role our world-class universities play in their local economies by better connecting them with innovative businesses.

“The other side of the coin for business is cost. Sky high business rates, hefty regulation, and the wider complexity of the tax system are some of the biggest thorns in the side of growing companies. Action from the Treasury to clear the path for businesses to grow will provide a vital uplift to the economy.”