Tag Archives: business

It’s the UK itself not the EU holding our industry back.

Our EU membership is holding us back from trading with the rest of the world and awful EU regulation is to blame for struggling small businesses in the UK. Sound familiar? It’s the broken record of the Leave campaign’s business message. This group of politicians wants to portray the UK like a child who needs to have the umbilical cord cut, in order to be set free and conquer the world. In reality, leave or stay in the EU, there is plenty we could be doing to help business and trade, all of which is within our power today.

Lets start with tax. Current UK tax law runs into a total of a staggering 10 million words. Every Chancellor for the last 20 years has added to the problem and only recently has an office for tax simplification been set up, so far with little effect. Small businesses find it impossible to get through to HMRC on the phone while large corporates have easy access to HMRC officials in order to do deals like the one Google struck. Fixing the complexity in our tax system would really help our small business owners to thrive much more than repealing EU legislation actually designed to ensure the single market works for all.

When it comes to the internet, the UK’s slowest recorded broadband speed is slower than at the base camp at Everest. This is like a 1900’s steam train compared to Korea where speeds 25 times higher have been recorded. It is the lack of willingness to invest by government and industry in broadband infrastructure and not the EU which are to blame here.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments

Pro-business or pro-enterprise? Why the difference matters

 

What does it mean to be a ‘pro-business’ political party?

This is not an easy question to answer, although that has not stopped many political parties from describing themselves as such. Businesses are not homogenous: from sole trader to global corporation, the requirements and priorities of firms are as diverse as the requirements and priorities of the individuals who own and staff them. Policies and laws that are highly favourable to one business or sector can be – and frequently are – disastrous for another. It is entirely possible to adopt policies that are pro some businesses, but where some businesses win others must lose. Choosing which businesses win and which lose is inherently political.

Posted in Op-eds | 21 Comments

Vince Cable and Chuka Umunna criticise Government’s industrial strategy in Independent article

Vince Cable has teamed up with Chuka Umunna in an Independent article that warns of the likely consequences if Vince’s former department of Business, Innovation and Skills suffers the massive cuts predicted. It’s not a protected department, so its budget could be cut by up to 40%. That would make it difficult to continue Vince’s successful industrial strategy:

One of the positive legacies of the Coalition government was the establishment of an ‘industrial strategy’ with the same objectives. It was successful in attracting a lot of support from business in general and in key sectors like automotive, aerospace, bio-tech, creative industries, energy and railway supply chains and construction. In vehicles and aerospace, especially, a large amount of private sector and government money was committed to R&D. The approach was flexible, accommodating and welcoming of disruptive technologies and the emergence of new industries. Before the election, the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems (and the SNP) subscribed to the industrial strategy.

There has been a deafening silence since. We are now past the first 100 days: the government’s honeymoon. There is no excuse for lack of clarity over a key area of government policy. There may be an innocent explanation: a wish by the Conservative government to rebrand the industrial strategy as part of its ‘Long Term Economic Plan’, while work quietly proceeds in the background. A more worrying possibility is that the ideologues in government have got their teeth into it believing, against all previous experience, that market failures will correct themselves and that the UK economy will achieve balanced, sustained, recovery thanks to resurgent banking and app start-ups in Shoreditch.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 9 Comments

Where are the Lib Dem business networks?

 

After many years on the cusp of joining the party, I finally made the decision to join the Lib Dems immediately after that fateful day in May. My motivations, I am sure, were much the same as those of many other waverers – despite having a stubborn, independent streak that made me loath to join a party (any party), and hesitation over the policies of the Coalition, I could no longer stand by and expect others to shoulder the burden of protecting liberal values and defending individual rights.

I can safely say that I haven’t regretted my decision for a moment: the warm welcome from Greenwich Borough Lib Dems, and the party as a whole, has reaffirmed my belief that liberalism has a bright future in English politics.

As a small business manager, one aspect of the Lib Dems that I have always found most attractive is its independence from vested interests. Not being dominated by – or acting as a mouthpiece for – the sectional interests of organised labour or powerful corporations is, for me, what allows our party to genuinely stand for individual rights and wellbeing. It is this independence which also makes the Lib Dems the natural home of the entrepreneur, the shopkeeper and the SME business manager – the small and the brave – as the social freedoms which we strive for as a party are those which independent businesses require in order to thrive.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 35 Comments

The Independent View: Ministry of Justice costs reforms undermine Vince Cable’s aim of tackling rogue directors

Statue of Justice - The Old BaileyA key message the Business Secretary Vince Cable has been keen to stress during his time in government is the need to tackle rogue directors: he’s announced plans to produce “stronger deterrents” and “more robust sanctions” to quash ‘dodgy directors’. Dr Cable’s – and insolvency minister Jo Swinson’s – policies on protecting creditors from rogue directors are certainly worth developing, but they are at risk of being undermined by policies being put forward by the Ministry of Justice.

The Ministry of Justice has been seeking to tackle the costs of litigation, but its reforms will end up having a big impact on the insolvency profession’s ability to combat rogue directors and will have disastrous and costly consequences for small business creditors and the taxpayer.

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Vince Cable writes…Strengthening confidence in the UK’s takeover laws

London Stock Exchange photo by Jam_90sThe attempted but abortive Pfizer takeover bid for AstraZeneca has triggered a timely political debate in the UK about whether the safeguards in mergers and takeover legislation are adequate – especially when significant research and development assets are at stake.  It is now clear to me that some changes should be made.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Lorely Burt to support female entrepreneurs

lorely-outside-parliament-1 lorely burtVince Cable has appointed Lorely Burt to a new role aimed at promoting and supporting female entrepreneurs. From the Yorkshire Post:

Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt will help women-led businesses to understand the help available to their new and growing firms.

She started her career in the prison service and rose to become assistant governor at HMP Holloway, a tough female-only prison in North London.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments
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