Alternatively, follow our LIVE coverage of today’s Autumn statement.This will be the first Autumn Statement since the economy began to get back on track, and Osborne is expected to use the occasion to show the Government’s economic strategy has paid off and that Labour got it wrong. Nonetheless business campaign groups have been persistently lobbying him to introduce the measures we need to see to help SMEs and entrepreneurs flourish. Business rates have been a particularly hot topic ahead of the statement and Osborne is expected to announce a two per cent cap on rate rises and the extension of a rates relief scheme for small companies. Whilst this has no doubt been welcomed, many hope to see him commit to long-term overhaul of the whole system of rates, which can be a major burden on property-intensive businesses like retailers and manufacturers. Research yesterday by Sage found that 70 per cent of small businesses want to see Osborne go beyond a freeze and announce a cut in rates. Small businesses have also called for action on energy bills, national insurance contributions and workforce skills. Real Business asked entrepreneurs and small business leaders what they wanted to see announced today:
David Brimelow, Managing Director of Duo UK: Support for manufacturers“We are hoping to see more support for British manufacturers. Research shows the cost of British-made goods is often a barrier for buyers, ultimately limiting growth for the sector. “Reducing operation costs and transparency of pricing structures in areas such as energy consumption, a significant outgoing, is one way to help UK manufacturers remain competitive, grow and safeguard employment which in turn helps the UK economy as a whole.
Rob Halliday-Stein, founder and MD of BullionByPost: Help to export“As a fast growing business we would like to see less headline grabbing schemes that never seem to actually benefit us! For example, the new-businesses-only National Insurance holiday or the seemingly arbitrarily drawn enterprise zones. “I would like to see a simple incentive to take on new employees, possibly in the form of a general National Insurance holiday available to real growing businesses. “I would also like to see real help or incentives for businesses planning to enter new export markets. This could be in the form of assistance in assessing which markets to target, mentoring from a business that has traded successfully in that market, and assistance with translation, legal issues and logistics. It would also be good to see tax incentives for increasing exports.”
Martin Leuw, serial technology entrepreneur: Prepare the young for the world of work“The area I’d like to see urgently addressed is more help for the nearly 1m young people aged 16-24 we have in the UK not in education, employment or training (NEETs). That is one in five of our youth. It is one of the biggest social and economic issues facing our country. “George Osborne has the opportunity to increase the tax breaks (eg Employers (NI) for all employers who take on young people as the more we can get into employment the more it will help economic growth. I’d also like to see tax breaks for companies that actively help schools prepare young people for the world of work.”
Charlie Mullins, CEO and founder of Pimlico Plumbers: Tackle youth unemployment“The Chancellor should use the Autumn Statement to address the high level of youth unemployment. Action has to be taken now to tackle the problem through incentives to business, such as a cut in National Insurance contributions for recruiting young people, or more significantly, a national, government-backed apprenticeship programme, which uses money from the benefits pot to part-fund the wages and training of young people.
Jan Cavelle, founder of the Jan Cavelle Furniture Company: Action on energy prices“Osborne is going to have to do something significant to counteract my gloom from Mark Carney’s hit on the building markets. So many of our SMEs are directly affected by the building market and no amount of talk of un-heating inflation will console me. “Talking of heating, doing something massive about energy prices would be positive. And a quick apology for his lack of use of British SMEs in the vulgar extravaganza of doing up the treasury would be plain civil.”
Adam Ludwin, co-founder of Captify: More guidance for businesses“While it’s encouraging to see more money pumped into supporting small business growth, the Government needs to take a look at how business advice on issues such as tax, grant schemes, training and development can be delivered to entrepreneurs more effectively. “There’s documentation and guidance out there, but you need to be a detective with unlimited hours to try and unearth helpful tips on big business issues. I’d like to see the government empowering banks to offer supplementary consultancy services, along with the usual financial packages will go a long way in delivering a supportive service from the moment an entrepreneur is looking to take their first step into the business world.”
Gavin Dein, CEO and founder of Reward: Tax breaks for new enterprises“It’s my belief that the Government needs to do more to align itself with entrepreneurs and help them at every stage of their development. This would begin by giving fledging entities tax breaks on the vast expense of office space, and could be backed by further tax breaks for attracting and nurturing the best talent. “This should include a clearer and easier route to introducing stock option schemes to help them retain and reward their staff for their dedication. The added stability that staff retention provides will help more businesses succeed.”
Simon Cooke, CEO and founder of DFJ Esprit: Overhaul EIS“The Budget 2012 introduced positive changes to the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) that has increased the flow of funds to start-up companies – the challenge now is to support these companies as they grow. “We would like to see an overhaul of the Approved EIS Fund scheme to create a true fund structure that could more easily provide the follow-on capital these companies require.” Image source
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