The Budget: What businesses want

Smarta spoke to some of its favourite entrepreneurs to find out what they're looking for from Wednesday's Budget.

Julie Meyer, chief executive, Ariadne Capital

"I’m looking for an understanding from the government that entrepreneurs are the engine of economic growth. That understanding would be manifested in the following ways: It would take pains to reduce things like PAYE and national insurance which are the two largest costs entrepreneurs and start-ups have to deal with monthly.

"HMRC should not be coming down hard on the backs of entrepreneurs and start-ups now, they should be giving generous payment plans and so forth.

"From an investor’s point of view, one of the things you have to do is look at the climate. You want the government to be creating an economic climate which is going to enable companies to grow quickly and to create gains and at the moment, the level of expenditure and the size of public services because is simply not sustainable.

"It’s not that I don’t want people to have healthcare or education, it has nothing to do with that. It’s simply not sustainable and I’m particularly concerned about the public finance initiative (PFI), where a lot of this public expenditure is hidden. When we see the budget are we even seeing the total picture?

"These PFI’s – we don’t even know the extent to which we’re fully indebted. As we all know, if we live beyond our means as people, there comes a moment where you’ve got to pay the bills, and so, as an investor you look at the macro climate for specific micro-things like reduction of PAYE and NIS."

Christian Arno, founder, Lingo24

“For us, the VAT reduction hasn’t helped. I’d like to see VAT put up to 20% because I think it generates a lot of money and it doesn’t really affect buying decisions in the vast majority of cases.

“The VAT cash accounting schemes for small businesses, where you only pay your VAT if you’ve received your payments in, is fantastic. But it should be expanded to be for larger businesses as well.

“The budget needs to make it very easy for you to chase late payments. The government needs to have a web-based problem for resolving the problem of late payments.

“A lot of businesses are benefiting from the strength of the Euro, so some support to encourage businesses to export through the problems would be fantastic.”

Niall McKinney, founder, UTalkMarketing

“We’re an early stage company, and one of the main challenges we face is obtaining financing for growth over the next 18 months. The change in capital gains tax and charges on non-domiciled investors has clearly damaged the market for funding at the worst possible economic time. It’s now as hard as it has ever been to raise venture finance.

“So while we can plan for growth, if government continues to disincentivise the few remaining investors, it will be difficult to execute those plans, meaning we create fewer jobs and generate less tax.”

John Cheney, chief executive, Workbooks Online

“The government has a unique opportunity to invigorate small businesses investment and in doing so help to stimulate the economy. Private individuals are seeing little or no return on their investment in banks and are looking for other opportunities; we need the budget to deliver real changes to encourage private investment in the UK’s small businesses.

“The budget should raise the threshold of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) from the £500,000 in 2008’s budget to £1 million; in recognition of massive changes in the economy over the past twelve months.

“In addition,  let’s see greater tax relief on private investment - I’d like to see it increase from 20% to 40%.

“Finally, the government should immediately extend the reach of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee that protects 75% of loan value from banks. In spite of this guarantee, we all know the banks are simply not lending – so let’s extend those benefits to the oh-so-important private investment community.”

 

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