Key strategies to boost enterpriseBy Linda Fort
February 23, 2011
Lower business taxes and less red tape are two ways in which the coalition Government is helping business, according to Reading West MP Alok Sharma.
He was speaking at a Business Breakfast Briefing at the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre at Madejski Stadium on Friday, February 11.
The event, attended by more than 70 business leaders, was organised by The Business Magazine in conjunction with law firm Clifton Ingram and accountants and business advisers Wilkins Kennedy.
Mr Sharma highlighted the following measures in support of business:
- Lower business taxes. The main rate of corporation tax will fall from 28 to 24 per cent over four years and the small profits rate to 20 per cent in April 2011, giving Britain the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G7 and the fifth lowest in the G20.
- National Insurance discounts. The threshold at which employers begin paying National Insurance contributions will rise.
- Extra Business Rate Relief for small businesses. The amount of relief available for small firms has been doubled for one year, and the Government is working to make local authorities free to administer Business Rate Relief in a way that best serves local businesses and local needs.
- Fair access to finance. The enterprise finance guarantee has been extended and up to £2 billion is available over four years.
- Less red tape. A ‘one-in, one-out’ system for new regulations has been established, a major review of health and safety legislation has been completed and the Government is ending the practice of ‘gold-plating’ or adding on to EU directives.
- Encouraging enterprise. The entrepreneurs’ relief lifetime limit for Capital Gains Tax has risen from £2 million to £5 million, a new enterprise allowance will help unemployed people become self-employed, and ministers have made it clear that enterprise is for everyone.
- Business support. businesslink .gov.uk is being updated and overhauled, a new mentoring gateway with 40,000 experienced business mentors is being established and Business Coaching for Growth has been created for high-potential SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
- Access to Government contracts. It will become easier to do business with the public sector because ministers are auditing departments to ensure they remove the barriers preventing small firms bidding for contracts, are instituting a new standard pre-qualification questionnaire and are introducing the aim that 25 per cent of government contracts be awarded to SMEs.
After the conference, Mr Sharma said: “The coalition Government’s ambition is to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business and the Government is putting in place the policies to make this happen.
“The private sector is key in creating the wealth and jobs to generate balanced and sustainable economic growth.
“I always welcome input from the business community in Reading and I will raise with ministers the issues highlighted by some of the local business representatives who attended the event.”
Managing director and publisher of The Business Magazine David Murray added: “The Business Breakfast was an excellent event and the businesses in attendance were very pleased that Alok was our guest speaker. He explained clearly the steps this Government is taking to support businesses and get the deficit under control.”