A Manifesto to Encourage the Growth

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Written By Saeed Maleki

10-Downing-Street-GQ-28Jan14_istock_b_642x390_1A business network of entrepreneurs has compiled a list of recommendations which they believe will assist small businesses – and those in start-up business building – to be able to ‘capitalise’ on the signs that the economic recovery in Britain is beginning to take a cautious step in the right direction.

Within the extensive manifesto, the group – named E2Exchange – recommended measures such as the creation of a separate division focused on SMEs within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skill (BIS).

The group of entrepreneurs has also included some potential reforms to the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme within their inaugural Growth Britain Manifesto. The network – which boasts Virgin Group boss Richard Branson as Honorary President, and Duncan Bannatyne of Dragon’s Den fame on the board – has suggested that SEIS is opened up to include more sectors of business, as well as the broadening of the class of shares too.

E2Exchange has been most complimentary regarding some of the initiatives introduced by the coalition, however there is more to be done according to CEO, Shalini Khemka. Khemka would also like to see an increase in the employment allowance for SMEs to £3,000 and the abolishment for 12 months of all National Insurance contributions for those out of work.

The initiatives proposed are all apparently targeted toward the assistance of SMEs and the costs they bare as they try to grow. Among the other points of note are the request that the government extends the enterprise zones from the 24 sites currently in the UK, to also reach London and the South East. Currently most of the zones – which offer reduced business rates and other financial benefits for SMEs – are based in the north of the country. In fact, business rates are specifically mentioned in the manifesto, with the suggestion that rates are directly linked to business performance and value of the property from where it operates.

Hand Delivery

The plan is to hand-deliver the Growth Britain Manifesto to the Prime Minister, David Cameron at 10 Downing Street. Once delivered, the actionable manifesto will face consultation, perhaps with many of those that helped draught it. The manifesto was launched at the SME Growth Summit, an occasion hosted by the House of Lords. SMEs are widely acknowledged by those in the financial sector to be the driving force behind the economic recovery in Britain, and the SEIS scheme in particular has been responsible for vast amounts of investment being pumped into some very promising enterprises.

SEIS offers investors tax breaks in return for investment in small businesses that meet the criteria for qualification. Since it was initially introduced in 2011, the scheme has been responsible for over £1.2 billion in investment in the UK’s youngest and most promising entrepreneurs.