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New CBI chief seeks tax system review for entrepreneurs

The new director-general for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Carolyn Fairbairn, is to lead the calls for more support for Britain’s SMEs with a review of the tax system to assist entrepreneurs.

After taking up the new role last week, Ms Fairbairn’s first keynote speech will lead the charge for new measures to boost a sector which contributed £59bn to the UK economy between 2010 and 2013.

Speaking at the CBI’s MSB Summit in London – in partnership with Lloyds Bank – Ms Fairbairn will state that leveraging more potential from mid-sized businesses can make the British economy even stronger.

The CBI’s latest report, Life in the Fast Lane, in partnership with Experian and Lloyds Bank, will reveal that 70 per cent of business scale-ups are launched outside of London, covering industries of all types and ages.

“As a country, we’re good at telling the beginning of the story. The traditional story of ‘start-up Britain’, a single person, with a single idea and a single-minded determination,” said Fairbairn.

“We’re also good at telling the end of the story. The story of ‘Brand Britain’ of big, well-known firms which people recognise and interact with every single day.

“Yet the ‘missing link’ is the most interesting part. It’s the part where entrepreneurs grow their great idea. Where they increase their profit, hire more people and expand beyond national borders.

“We found that seven-in-ten scale-ups are located outside of London – from tech companies in Cambridge, to manufacturers in the Midlands and Dundee’s gaming industry.

“Scale-ups have the potential to help rebalance our economy and bring recovery to every corner of the UK.”

The CBI believes the Government should be helping mid-sized firms scale-up by looking at the following issues:

  • Ensuring the UK tax system adequately incentivises entrepreneurship and investment in mid-sized businesses.

  • Giving scale-up companies better access to skilled workers by raising the Tier 2 visa cap.

  • Improve cash flow for innovative companies by shortening the timeframe for the payment of the R&D tax credit.

  • Raise awareness of the benefits of the employee share ownership scheme for mid-sized firms.

  • Standardise the European VAT threshold at €100,000.

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