Prime Minister David Cameron today called on start-up businesses and entrepreneurs across the UK to get involved in this year's Conservative Party Start-up Hub and win the opportunity to showcase their work in front of thousands of visitors at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
Launched for the first time two years ago, the national competition is a chance for 12 new businesses to demonstrate their ideas or designs during the four day conference running from Sunday, September 29th to Wednesday, October 2nd.
Launching the competition, Prime Minister David Cameron, said:
"The Conservative Party believes that small businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the UK economy. To show our continued commitment to British enterprise and entrepreneurs I am pleased that the Conservatives are once again running the Start-Up Hub at our Conference. I support this initiative and encourage start-ups and entrepreneurs to apply."
More details and how to apply available on www.conservatives.com/startuphub
This week marks the first ever 'National Self Build' week.
We all know how important it is to see more homes being built across the country and with the results of an Ipsos MORI poll that discovered that around six million Britons are currently planning or researching how to build their own homes, this is a good way to help people overcome the barriers to building their own home.
Taking place between 4-12th May, National Self-Build Week is organised by the National Self Build Association (NaSBA) and Grand Designs Live coinciding with their Live exhibition in London, and is supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Throughout the week there will be panel discussions looking at the main hurdles would be self builders still have to overcome and Q and A sessions which focus on dealing with local councils and how the planning system can enable and encourage more self build. Also, there will be a series of events nationwide, all with the aim to inform and help people turn their self build dream home into a reality.
As Housing Minister, I wholeheartedly support this initiative. This Government is determined to help make building your own home easier for everyone and the National Self Build Week is a further step towards helping people achieving this ambition.
For more information follow the weblink here - http://www.nasba.org.uk/nsbw
Mark Prisk is the Housing Minister.
Research commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has revealed that the number of cyber attacks hitting businesses has increased over the last year.
The research also showed that 87% of small firms experienced a security breach last year, up 10%. 93% of large organisations had also been targeted. To help guard against these attacks, which can cost a small business 6% of its turnover, government is offering further funding and guidance.
The Technology Strategy Board has extended a scheme to allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to bid for up to £5,000 to improve their cyber security.
More details of the support available can be found here.
David Cameron has paid tribute to Margaret Thatcher, saying that "It was with great sadness that I learned of Lady Thatcher's death. We have lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton"
Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.
The Chancellor George Osborne has delivered the 2013 Budget to the House of Commons.
George Osborne said that: "This is a Budget for people who aspire to work hard and get on. It's a Budget for people who realise there are no easy answers to problems built up over many years. Just the painstaking work of putting right what went so badly wrong. And together with the British people we are, slowly but surely, fixing our country's economic problems."
The key points are:
The Start-Up Loan scheme has exceeded expectations as 2,000 aspirational young entrepreneurs have now received support to help get their business venture off the ground, in a boost to growth and the UK's efforts to get ahead in the global race.
Speaking about the scheme Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"Start-Up Loans are now helping thousands of aspiring young entrepreneurs get the finance and support to strike out on their own and launch their own business. The success of this scheme shows that young people have got the ideas, the ambition and sheer commitment to get ahead – and it is by backing them, and backing their aspirations that we will be able to compete and thrive in the global race."
For more information is available on the Department for Business press release.
To mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week Prime Minister David Cameron met young apprentices at a training academy in Buckinghamshire, where he set out a vision for it to become the new norm for young people to either go to university or start an apprenticeship.
The full details are on this link from Number 10's website
Details of how to get involved in National Apprenticeship Week 2013 are here
Today in Yorkshire the Prime Minister said:
Today, I want to talk very clearly and plainly about our economic situation. I know things are tough right now. Families are struggling with the bills at the end of the month. Some are just a paycheque away from going into the red.
Parents are worried about what the future holds for their children.Whole towns are wondering where their economic future lies.
And I know that is especially true for people here in Yorkshire and in many parts of the north of our country...
...who didn't benefit properly from the so-called boom years...
...and worry they won't do so again.
But I'm here to say that's not going to happen. Because we have a plan to get through these difficulties – and to get through them together.
The full text is on this link from the Conservative Party's website.
WITH many economies – including the UK – struggling to achieve strong growth, there is naturally a focus on what governments can do to assist. The Prime Minister is making a major speech today about the key elements of the coalition's plan, but I want to focus on one part: how a competitive tax system can incentivise enterprise and encourage investment.
There have been calls for radical changes to business tax. I welcome this debate, but would make one important point. We are delivering a bigger set of pro-business tax reforms than our global competitors or predecessors ever managed.
Corporation tax has been cut from an inherited main rate of 28 per cent to 23 per cent from this April, and to 21 per cent next April, giving us a considerably more competitive rate than the US at 40 per cent, France at 33.33 per cent and Germany at 29 per cent.
Further, reforms to the Controlled Foreign Companies tax regime are resulting in organisations moving their headquarters to the UK. We are also introducing the Patent Box and making research and development tax credits more generous. And from April, we will cut the 50p income tax rate – which signalled to businesses and entrepreneurs that Britain was not open for business – to 45p.
Our approach has been vindicated by evidence from a KPMG tax competitiveness survey published last month. In three years, the UK has moved from being an also-ran to the most competitive regime in the world, overtaking Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland. According to the report, stability, simplicity and advanced warning of changes were of high importance, and the government has worked hard to enhance these factors. Britain's tax regime is now seen as an asset, not a liability.
Our approach is also radical by historical standards, even compared to the governments of Margaret Thatcher. Coming to power in 1979, when the UK faced severe economic difficulties – with borrowing high and competitiveness in decline – the Thatcher government pursued radical reforms, transforming the UK for the better. But from 1979 to 1983, the value of the net change in the corporation tax burden was less than £1bn in today's prices.
The second Thatcher government had the advantage of benign economic conditions and was more radical. The 1984 Budget announced substantial reductions in the corporation tax main rate, from 52 per cent to 35 per cent, funded by reducing the generosity of capital allowances and other reliefs. But net changes was also worth less than £1bn in today's prices.
In contrast, over five years, the total fiscal impact of changes to the corporation tax regime introduced by George Osborne, excluding the North Sea, amounts to a reduction of almost £7bn, at a time of considerable pressure on the public finances.
Of course, different times require different responses; capital is now more mobile and competition greater, so governments have to work harder to attract investment. But by historical and international standards, we have made our business tax system much more competitive.
David Gauke is a Conservative MP and exchequer secretary to the Treasury.
The link to the CityAm piece is:
Yesterday we held the second in a series of seminars for 2013, on Taxation and HMRC. On the panel was David Gauke MP the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Anita Monteith from the ICAEW and Alan Lewis the Party's Business Vice Chairman.
The audience was made up of trade associations, business group representatives and entrepreneurs. The Party is keen to keep in touch with businesses, to hear and understand the issues and concerns in their companies and sectors.
David Gauke was pleased to be able to tell the delegates that the Government had cut corporation tax and small profits rates and through the patent box and R&D tax credits was helping businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and invest in the UK.
It was a positive seminar, with good news stories highlighted from the EIS and SEIS schemes, and also how the Patent Box was helping keep companies in the UK.
Also raised with the panel were how the Treasury and HMRC can encourage exports and how state aid can benefit British companies. High on the agenda was the HMRC discussion document and draft guidance on Tax & Procurement, David Gauke stressed that this measure was designed to prevent rows over contracts and discouraging aggressive tax avoidance procedures.
Thanks to all those who attended. We'd also welcome taking the discussion further through our open LinkedIn group.
Yesterday Alan Lewis, Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for Business Relations, visited Symetrica's new offices in Southampton to hear the company's issues, and see how they are growing their business.
The company were part of the SETsquared partnership programme and SETsquared representatives were also in attendance to give Alan their thoughts on economic growth, skills and encouraging entrepreneurship.
Alan's visit came after spending the morning campaigning in Eastleigh for Maria Hutchings the Conservative candidate in the upcoming by-election.
Prime Minister David Cameron today starts a trade delegation to India with over 100 business representatives, education specialists and Parliamentarians. This delegation is the biggest ever taken by a British Prime Minister.
Speaking about the trip on LinkedIn David Cameron said:
"People sometimes ask me why I take trade delegations with me when I travel overseas. I tell them that my first priority as UK Prime Minister is to do everything I can to ensure that Britain succeeds in the Global Race. I know we have the great businesses and entrepreneurs to make that possible. But I also know that success in business does not just happen. We can not rely merely on sentiment and shared history with our trading partners. We have to get out there, make the case for Britain and open doors for British business."
Today we held the first in a series of seminars with Conservative Ministers in 2013. Matthew Hancock, Skills Minister, was our guest today and we'd like to thank him for his time.
Alongside Matthew on the panel was Alan Lewis, the Business Relations Vice Chairman for the Party, and Paula Leach, Head of Learning & Development (UK) at Ford Motor Company. We also thank Paula for her time and expertise.
We had over 60 delegates registered for the event, with representatives from major companies, academic partnerships, SMEs and entrepreneurs, trade bodies and professional membership groups.
A wide range of issues surrounding the skills agenda were raised. Matthew and the panel were asked about apprenticeships and what the Government is doing to encourage more take-up across the business community: from large companies to SMEs. Teaching new developments in technology was mentioned as a key component to the skills agenda and Matthew highlighted the academy programme and how the Government is actively promoting this.
The professional networking site LinkedIn was also raised as an important platform to engage through. We have an open group on the site and we'd welcome taking this conversation forward. It can be found and joined here.
Today, the government unveiled the next phase of the £32 billion HS2 high speed rail link which will link Birmingham, Manchester, Toton in the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.
High Speed 2 underlines the government's absolute commitment to investing in the infrastructure that Britain needs to compete and succeed in the global economy.
As well as easing overcrowding on the existing network, HS2 will also dramatically reduce journey times – the journey time from Manchester to London will be slashed by an hour to 1 hour and 8 minutes; a Birmingham to Leeds journey time will be halved from 2 hours to 57 minutes, and travel time from London to Birmingham will be reduced to just 49 minutes.
The first HS2 trains will start running from London to Birmingham in 13 years time, with the full route due for completion six years after that.
The Chancellor George Osborne said that HS2 would be "the engine for growth in the North and the Midlands", whilst the Transport Secretary said he hoped the high-speed project would "become a national asset" which "has the potential to create jobs, wealth and opportunity in an abundance that will more than justify the investment to make it happen."
Last Thursday Alan Lewis, Business Relations Vice Chairman of the Party, chaired a meeting of the Northern Business and Entrepreneurs Council.
Hosted in Leeds, this was the second meeting of the Council and a large number of interesting topics were discussed including the skills agenda, access to finance and government support schemes.
The Council initiative is being established to help the Party engage with businesses by creating a network of councils across the UK. They will meet regularly and the points, issues and concerns discussed by the Council will then be fed into the Party.
Today Prime Minister David Cameron talked about the future of Europe.
He outlined his vision for an EU fit for the Twenty-First Century; competitive, flexible, with power flowing back to Member States, accountable and fair.
David Cameron said that "The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament."
The full text of the speech is on the Number 10 website.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock today announces the establishment of a new team dedicated to capitalising on the growth of demand for UK education from abroad.
Education UK will specifically target fast-growing markets such as India and the Middle East. The UK has an excellent reputation for education internationally, but isn't currently exploiting this to the full.
The UK's education sector has the potential to make a significant contribution to growth; education exports are currently worth more than £14bn annually. By 2020 this could rise to £21.5 billion, and to £27 billion by 2025.
The full details are on Gov.UK's website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-team-to-help-uk-exploit-international-opportunities-in-education-exports
The Prime Minister has announced additional support for the next generation of entrepreneurs. The Start-up Loans scheme is to receive a £30million boost taking the total pot to over £110million over the next three years.
In addition, the upper age limit for those who can apply for loans has been raised from 24 to 30 years in response to demand from those who had previously just missed out on the scheme.
So far, over 3,000 people have applied or registered interest for a Start-up Loan. These budding entrepreneurs receive support and mentoring to develop their ideas and, when their business plan is robust and has been approved, they gain access to a loan of around £2,500 repayable at a low interest rate over a period of five years.
In today's Autumn Statement George Osborne spoke of the progress being made towards economic recovery in the UK and further measures which will be taken.
He announced that the deficit has fallen by a quarter in just two years and is forecast to go on falling every year of this Parliament.
The Government's economic strategy will continue to focus on reducing the deficit, restoring stability, and rebalancing our economy. Today George Osborne set out how this strategy will be maintained by taking the following action:
Investing in Britain's future
• £6.6 billion has been saved by controlling welfare and cutting Whitehall spending. £5.5 billion of this will be invested roads, schools and science.
Helping British businesses grow
• A 2 year increase in the Annual Investment Allowance from £25,000 to £250,000 to support SMES.
• Cuts to corporation tax, so it will have fallen from 28p to 21p under this Government – the lowest rate in the G7 and the fourth lowest in the G20.
Helping with the cost of living
• Cancelling January's 3p fuel rise, so fuel prices stay 10p lower than under Labour's plans.
• Increase in the personal allowance by a further £235, meaning 24 million people will get a tax cut. It also means 2.2 million people below the income threshold will be taken out of income tax.
• Increase the state pension by 2.5 per cent, higher than either earnings or inflation, taking the full Basic State Pension to £110.15 a week.
Ensuring everyone pays their fair share
• Tackling tax avoidance through the UK's first 'General Anti-Abuse Rule', targeting the promoters of aggressive tax avoidance schemes and the closure of loopholes. An HMRC unit dedicated to tackling offshore evasion will also be set up.
This morning the Office of National Statistics announced that the UK's economy had grown by 1% according to the official gross domestic product figures (GDP).
This growth comes amid difficult times for the global economy so, although there is a long way to go, it indicates that the UK is heading in the right direction.
Areas of growth include the production industries whose output has increased by 1.1% in the third quarter of 2012, when compared to the second quarter, and the service industries which have grown by 1.3%.
In response to these growth figures, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has issued the following statement:
"There is still a long way to go, but these figures show we are on the right track. This is another sign that the economy is healing and we have the right approach: we've cut the deficit by a quarter, over a million new jobs have been created in the private sector, inflation is down, and the economy is growing.
Yesterday's weak data from the eurozone were a reminder that we still face many economic challenges at home and abroad. By continuing to take the tough decisions needed to deal with our debts and equip our economy for the global race we're in, this Government is laying the foundations for lasting prosperity."
From 1 October 2012, thousands of small businesses and venues that host live music events will be freed from the burdens of unnecessary red tape.
The reforms are part of a wider strategy to cut red tape, including the Red Tape Challenge, which invited the public, business and the voluntary sector to give their views on which regulations should stay, be improved, or be scrapped altogether.
The Government is making it easier for pubs and clubs to stage live music, by removing regulatory burdens on venues. Specific licenses will no longer be needed for live unamplified music performed in any location, and live amplified music in on-licensed premises and workplaces for audiences of up to 200 people, between 8am and 11pm.
Dozens of other regulations will be removed or simplified today, giving businesses more freedom to grow. These include:
Maria Miller the new Culture Secretary has announced moves to fast-track the roll-out of superfast broadband.
In order to achieve this, the Government is investing £680 million and sweeping away swathes of red tape including:
The Government will also work with mobile operators, local government and other interested parties to consider ways that the planning process might be streamlined to speed up the deployment of mobile infrastructure.
The Prime Minister has today announced a major housing and planning package that will help deliver:
This includes a series of measures aimed at supporting businesses, developers and first-time buyers, while slashing unnecessary red tape across the planning system.
For a full list of the measures please visit the Number 10 website.
The Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) has opened for the next eighteen months.
Starting today, banks and building societies can borrow in the FLS at cheaper rates, for periods of up to four years, in a scheme designed to encourage greater lending to UK households and businesses.
The Scheme delivers credit easing to the whole economy, and has strong incentives for banks and building societies to increase lending to UK households and businesses: those that lend more, can borrow more in the FLS, and can do so at lower cost than those that scale back lending.
The FLS is designed to encourage broad participation so that as many institutions as possible have incentives to lend more to the UK real economy than they otherwise would have.
It is expected that banks currently offering loans through the National Loan Guarantee Scheme (NLGS) will, over time, cease to offer NLGS branded products and instead opt to deliver credit easing through the FLS.
George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:
"The NLGS has made a real difference, with over 16,000 cheaper loans worth over £2.5bn already offered to businesses across the UK. In many cases, the money saved has meant an extra person employed who otherwise still might be looking for work.
"The more generous FLS has officially opened for business and will in time effectively take over from the NLGS, delivering credit easing to the whole economy."
An £82.5m scheme is being launched today to give 18 - 24 year old entrepreneurs finance and support.
The scheme could potentially start over 30 thousand new businesses, in a move to boost enterprise and economic growth.
Any young people aged 18-24 accessing the StartUp Loans will receive expert and personal support to help develop a business plan and access training. Where the business plan is robust and approved, they will be able to access a loan, typically in the order of £2,500, with a repayment period of up to five years.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"StartUp loans are a fantastic opportunity for young people, not only to get the financial support they need, but also to give them the confidence to believe they can do it, that they can turn an idea into the next global brand."
The StartUp loans will be administered by a range of organisations that have experience in working with young people, including the Prince's Trust and Manchester-based Economic Solutions Group.
James Caan, one of the UK's best known entrepreneurs, has agreed to chair a new body to oversee the allocation of funds and to work with delivery partners to ensure the young people gain the maximum benefit from the support and finance on offer.
Young people looking for support and finance through the StartUp loans can register at www.startuploans.co.uk or http://businessinyou.bis.gov.uk, where they will receive regular updates and information.
The announcement comes on the day that Lord Young's report on enterprise is published. The report sets out the UK's enterprise landscape and offers guidance on starting a new business. A PDF of the report can be viewed here.
Today the Government launched GrowthAccelerator, an innovative £200million programme designed to help 26,000 of England's brightest businesses.
The programme will provide business experts for companies to help them identify barrier to growth and how to overcome them. They will tackle problems including:
Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk welcomed the launch, saying:
"Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy and we are giving them the support they need to realise their potential.
"As well as this ambitious and innovative programme, we are already creating a network of thousands of business mentors and will soon be launching a new £10 million start-up loans scheme to give young people access to business advice and a small amount of capital."
More details of the programme and how to apply can be found at http://www.growthaccelerator.com
The Government's priorities for the coming parliamentary year have this afternoon been set out in the Queen's Speech 2012.
At the official State Opening of Parliament, the Queen's Speech highlighted the Government's priorities of economic growth and deficit reduction.
Some of the Bills laid out in the Speech were:
For more information on the Queen's Speech please visit the Downing Street website
Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled a raft of measures in his Budget that rewards work, boosts business and helps those who aspire to do better for themselves and their families.
In his Budget speech, George Osborne said:
"This Budget supports working families and helps those looking for work. It unashamedly backs business. And it is on the side of aspiration: those who want to do better for themselves and for their families.
"This Budget reaffirms our unwavering commitment to deal with Britain's record debts. But because we've already taken difficult decisions, this can also be a reforming Budget that seeks to repair the disastrous model of economic growth that created those debts."
"Last year, the personal allowance rose by £1,000. In two weeks time, it will go up by another £630 to £8,105. Together, these increases have taken over a million low income people out of tax. And today, I want to go much further and much faster.
"I am announcing the largest ever increase in the personal allowance - the amount people can earn tax free. From next April that amount will increase by £1,100. Every working person on low or middle incomes will benefit. People will be able to earn up to £9,205 before they have to pay any tax. Millions of working people will be £220 better off every year. That's £170 better off after inflation.
"Because higher rate earners will also benefit, 24 million people earning less than £100,000 a year will gain from this measure. We are in touching distance of the goal of £10,000 personal allowance that we all share.
"And I can tell the country that as a result of our Budgets, people working full time on the minimum wage, will have seen their income tax bill cut in half. And this coalition Government will have taken two million people on the lowest incomes out of tax altogether.
"In the middle of this Parliament, in difficult economic times, this coalition Government has not settled for a "do nothing" Budget. We have not ducked the difficult choices - we've taken them head on."
In his 2012 Budget the Chancellor revealed that:
For more information please click here
Addressing the National Conservative Convention, the Prime Minister said that "true compassion" means taking tough decisions.
Mr Cameron told activists that government cuts were being made because the party "cares" about the country and that only by taking "tough and bold action" would the UK be "stronger and fairer" and not by "playing it safe".
The Prime Minister said he wanted a "strong Britain. A fair Britain. A Conservative Britain" but that in order to get there we have "huge challenges to confront".
David Cameron said: "People say Conservatives in government are taking tough action because they don't care. But the opposite is true. We're taking those decisions because we do care.
"We care about the kind of country our children are going to grow up in and we do not want to burden them with debts that we are too timid to pay back.
"We care about giving people dignity in old age, which is why we're making difficult decisions today – so we can actually afford our pensions system tomorrow.
"We care about keeping a health service that is truly there for all and free for all, which is why we're reforming the NHS to prioritising prevention and not just treatment.
"It's only by taking tough and bold action that we will make our country stronger and fairer. True compassion isn't wearing your heart on your sleeve. It's rolling up those sleeves and taking the long-term decisions that will really change our country for the better. That's what I want this party to be about and what I want this government to be about."
I set up my first small business after having been a partner in a major firm of accountants and consultants for a number of years. One day I was surrounded by sophisticated accounting and expenses systems, secretaries and administrative support; the next I had to do it all myself. I remember my then business partner and I going to our first sales pitch and ending up afterwards in a rural post office in Kent where the manager kindly let us have a table on which to stuff envelopes with our first mail shot and post them. Setting up your own business can be a lonely affair and it is nice when someone's on your side.
As this was the dark days of the last Labour Government, I knew that the then Government was not on my side. How much easier life would have been, for example, if the previous Government had been as serious about cutting red tape as is our current Government. Mark Prisk's article today on Conservative Home reinforces this point: http://bit.ly/zxSJDc. Red tape not only costs cash; it costs time. That is something you do not have lots of when you are setting up your own business and when you need to keep your focus on winning new work.
For all businesses, of course, cash is king. Being experienced in international trade, I set out to ensure that each year at least half our income was generated in foreign markets with which we were familiar, including the Middle East. Good prices; but perhaps with more difficult cash flow implications! To be fair, our bank was reasonably understanding at the time but something like the National Loan Guarantee Scheme would have helped. Under this scheme, the Government will allow participating banks to raise up to £20 billion of cheaper funding over the next two years under a Government guarantee provided that the lower cost of funding is passed on to small businesses.
Finding funding other than from the banks has always been a problem for small businesses. Schemes like the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme which provides tax breaks on investments in early stage start-ups would have been something we would have seriously looked at to encourage venture capital and diversify rather than rely purely on bank loans.
If Government measures to help get money in to the business would have helped us, so would measures to limit the money going out. For many small businesses, business rates make up a significant chunk of expenditure. Doubling small business rate relief for two and a half years is a measure which I know from small businesses in my own constituency has brought real help. And when it comes to tax, a combination of the corporation tax cut for small businesses to 20%, the doubling of tax relief for entrepreneurs and the simplification of the tax system are all most welcome.
Whether you set up your own company or you chose the route of self-employment, this is not just about the Government encouraging growth and business for their own sake and that of the economy, important though they are. This is also about encouraging aspiration and helping those that wish the exciting challenge of living their dream through business to do so in the knowledge both that Government is on your side and that the Conservative Party has MPs who understand what you are going through because they have been there and done it.
John Howell OBE MP is the Member of Parliament for Henley and PPS to the Leader of the House and to the Minister of Decentralisation and Cities. He was formerly a partner in Ernst & Young before setting up two small businesses in the media sector.
The Prime Minister has announced plans to introduce a Co-operatives Bill that will cut red tape and help to build a fairer economy.
Legislation governing co-operatives and mutuals into a single statute will be put before parliament before the next election.
The Co-operatives Bill will help employees take a greater stake in their companies. Mr Cameron said they were key to "popular capitalism" and for "everyone to share in the success of the market".
The Prime Minister also said he wanted to encourage firms to show social responsibility and that the Chancellor was considering new tax rules to prevent abuse.
David Cameron said: "We know that breaking monopolies, encouraging choice, opening up new forms of enterprise is not just right for business but the best way of improving public services too.
"There are over 12 million co-op members in the UK. That's more people than there are shareholders in the economy.
"But right now there are too many barriers in the way... so today I can announce they will all be brought together and simplified in a new Co-Operatives Bill that will be put before parliament."
Welcoming the announcement, Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, added: "The new act is intended to make it as easy and natural to form a co-operative as any other form of business. We are delighted to see the Coalition taking action to put co-operative businesses on an equal footing and create a diverse economy.
"Co-operatives, as well as being widely recognised for their ethical business practices, are a vital part of the British economy, employing more than 235,000 people, turning over more than £33 billion each year and generating a significant amount of wealth for the country."
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a series of measures to tackle the compensation culture and free small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the stranglehold of health and safety red tape.
Speaking to an audience of small businesses and entrepreneurs at Intuit UK in Maidenhead, David Cameron announced that:
The Prime Minister has also announced that next month we will ask organisations to bid to manage the £1bn of Government funding available through the Business Finance Partnership. This fund will help businesses access the finance they need to grow.
Today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his 2011 Autumn Statement to Parliament.
Responding to the Office of Budget Responsibility's updated Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the Chancellor has set out details of further action the Government will take to protect the UK from global instability and the euro area crisis and build a stronger, more balanced economy for the future.
The Chancellor announced permanent reductions in spending to ensure that the UK meets its fiscal targets, using some of those savings in the short term to fund infrastructure investment to generate long-term growth.
Alongside this, he announced measures to help households and businesses cope with higher inflation and to ensure that deficit reduction is implemented fairly.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:
"We are committed to making Britain the best place to start, finance and grow a business.
"The measures I am announcing today will help us to achieve this by creating an environment in which businesses are easy to set up, have access to credit when they need it and are able to grow without being held back by red tape.
"This action supports our deficit reduction plan and the Government's monetary activism as we build a balanced economy."
The full Autumn Statement 2011 can be read here.
Last year, I organised a conference to explore how we can revitalise and give a new sense of purpose to our towns and I recently attended a meeting in parliament of a group of like minded MPs who are all aiming to deliver the same results in their own areas. We had all come to discuss the challenge with Mary Portas who was appointed by the government to come up with some new thinking to meet the challenge of town centre renewal.
There is a lot of exciting new work going on in West Cornwall. Hayle has had a long wait but might, at long last, be about to see a major restoration of the harbour area complete with new restaurants and a cinema. Camborne has been boosted by the arrival of Wetherspoons in the centre of town and a few weeks ago I met the Chinese owner of the Redruth Brewery site to see how we can kick start some activity there because it must be Redruth's turn next. I would like to see the Cornish Records Office moved from Truro to Redruth where it belongs because it could be the catalyst for a new retail offering based on Cornwall's heritage and culture.
The inexorable growth of out-of-town supermarkets has taken people away from our towns so, in future, let's put them in the centre where they bring life in rather than outside where they drain life away. Secondly, high business rates have driven some small retailers out of business so let's make it easier for new shops to open by giving them soft rates for the first year to get on their feet and let's help struggling retailers by giving them discounts from their existing business rates.
Thirdly, we should not duck the fact that free car parking is a factor that can encourage people back into town. If you are going to Camborne to buy a pasty or get some photos developed, the high cost of car parking is enough to put you off. So I think we need to look at ways of funding free car parking for the first hour. It has worked well in other towns elsewhere in the country and where there is a will, there is a way. Finally, we need to do more to attract destination retailers to our towns which would raise the tide for all the other shops too. There is often a lack of suitable retail space but you only need one or two brand names to create some momentum.
The government has made a lot of these ideas possible because it is allowing Councils to keep all the rates on new commercial premises so the income retained from new industrial units at Pool and Treleigh could be ploughed back into schemes to kick start our town centres. But we need a plan to make it happen.
George Eustice MP
Camborne & Redruth
Small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of my rural constituency of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire – we do have some major energy-based industries but the biggest employers are often connected to farming and tourism SMEs.
There are three main issues faced by businesses in my constituency which the UK Government knows it must tackle.
Firstly poor mobile coverage and broadband speeds hold back innovation and communication. I have found it easier to make mobile calls from the Falklands Islands and Norwegian fjords than from my constituency office in Carmarthenshire. The poor communications network is just one reason why small and medium-sized businesses are struggling to improve and compete. The Government is now making up for lost time on this crucial issue and Jeremy Hunt recently announced £59.6 million in funding to make sure that the benefits of superfast broadband are available to everyone, especially those in rural areas.
Bureaucratic hurdles, particular in planning, are a second barrier to growth in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire. One pub in a local seaside town has been served a noise abatement order by the county council because of a noisy kitchen fan – but the National Park's planning committee has refused to allow them to make the alterations needed to quieten it. This makes the case strongly for sensible changes in the planning system, currently being put forward by the UK Government, that will remove barriers to growth whilst taking into account the concerns of local residents.
Thirdly I believe that misguided education policies have played their part in holding my constituency back. I have had companies coming to me tearing their hair out because they want to employ youngsters but their qualifications are simply not up to scrutiny. As one local employer said to me "qualifications in golf course management or media studies simply does prepare students for the real world or a job in my manufacturing company." The Government have listened to these concerns and in the first 100 days passed the Academies Act allowing under-performing schools to be taken over and turned round without delay. Michael Gove has also announced the end of bogus university courses and is placing a strong emphasis on traditional subjects once again. The Welsh Assembly Government must follow suit.
Companies in my constituency are showing that they are tenacious, ingenious and determined in these difficult economic conditions. For example Mustang Marine recently won a £3.8 million contact with the Port of Mombasa, and there are others taking on staff and booking orders. This makes me proud and optimistic about the future for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.
Simon Hart MP
I can think of few better things to celebrate and encourage than the innovation and can-do spirit of Britain's entrepreneurs. That's what this week, Global Entrepreneurship Week, has been all about: congratulating and supporting those who make a job, not take a job.
I know, and this Government knows, that it is the hard work and commitment of these people – from all over the country and all walks of life – that is driving our economic recovery. That's why it is so important that we do all we can to support them and to make absolutely clear that government, and the whole country, is on their side.
It's this commitment that is behind so much of what we have done to create a more competitive business environment, so firms can thrive and create jobs and growth: a robust deficit reduction plan to keep interest rates lower for longer, cuts to business taxes, new enterprise zones, greater support for innovation, the Regional Growth Fund, streamlined planning and less red tape.
But we must go further. That's why, this week, we've announced extra help specifically for start-ups and small businesses.
On Monday I was at Tottenham Hotspur being inspired by the next generation of entrepreneurs, offering renewed government support for the Premier League Enterprise Academy, and launching two new online businesslink.gov services. My New Business offers support and guidance on setting up a new enterprise and the Growth and Improvement Service is the first port of call for entrepreneurs seeking information.
Tuesday saw Vince Cable and I launch Make it in Great Britain, encouraging Britain's best and newest manufacturers to set up shop in the Science Museum and showcase their products to the thousands of visitors in London for the 2012 Games. It's an exciting campaign designed to banish that myth that 'we don't make anything anymore' and show young people what an exciting career they could have in modern British industry.
Support from business organisations and private partners, alongside new grant funding, allowed us to announce 10,000 new volunteer business mentors at the British Library on Wednesday. These new mentors join those already accessible through mentorsme.co.uk, so by the spring there will be 26,000 people with real experience of enterprise able and willing to give new entrepreneurs a hand up in their new venture.
And yesterday I joined the Royal British Legion to extend the successful Be the Boss initiative to all Service leavers. The scheme provides start-up training, grants and loans of up to £30,000, as well as mentoring, to help ex-Service personnel start their own firms. It's great to be able to offer this support to those who have given so much for our country.
Together, these new announcements build on the wider work that we are doing right across government to support and promote enterprise, growth and job creation. GEW has seen 1,800 events take place across the length and breadth of Britain – and 40,000 occurring in 104 countries worldwide and involving ten million budding business owners. It's been a great week so far, and I am determined to keep up the momentum and keep on supporting our entrepreneurs.
Mark Prisk MP
Minister for Business and Enterprise
Global Entrepreneurship Week is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the talents of entrepreneurs across the UK, Europe and the World. The eyes of the world are focused on the Eurozone at the moment. I wanted to take this opportunity to outline how we are working to improve the European Single Market; fighting protectionism to boost enterprise and opportunities for both UK and European businesses.
After the June 2009 Elections, I was nominated by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) to become Chairman of the key Parliamentary Committee covering Internal Market and Consumer Protection issues. It was clear that it was a crucial time to relaunch the Single Market. There were far too many protectionist noises and not enough action to continue opening markets and promoting enterprise. The President of the European Commission clearly agreed. He nominated former Commissioner Mario Monti, Prime Minister of Italy, to undertake a major review of its operations and to propose ideas for a relaunch. My Committee in Parliament did a parallel exercise.
In May 2010, the Monti report set out many excellent recommendations. In the same week, the Parliament endorsed my Committee's call for a new political initiative to relaunch the Single Market under the framework of an "Act", including legislative and non-legislative measures. By European standards, events moved very quickly! Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier picked up on our ideas immediately. In October 2010, the Commission produced a draft Single Market Act, with 50 proposals, and launched a wide consultation on the proposals.
ln early April 2011, the European Parliament backed a series of resolutions, by massive majorities, that spelt out their priorities for the new "Act". These centred on boosting growth, cutting regulation and opening opportunities for businesses and citizens. MEPs also called for much better communication of Single Market benefits - especially for service providers - and measures to boost consumer confidence in cross border transactions.
On April 13th, Commissioner Michel Barnier came to the European Parliament to launch the definitive Act. It includes 12 priority areas - political levers - to improve the Single Market's operations and to promote its opportunities, especially to Small Enterprise. On October 23rd, the European Summit made the completion of the Single Market Act Commitments its top priority for growth and jobs. This government support is crucial. Governments need to promote the Single Market, implement the rules correctly and support action where there are still "bottlenecks" or "missing links". I am advocating this strongly with UK BIS Ministers.
The Commission's 2012 work programme also makes the Single Market Act the top action. For my Committee, there is a key role in leading this process and also in reforming existing rules. Top of our list is a complete overhaul of the public procurement framework to make it less bureaucratic, to encourage innovation and to open up competition to SMEs.
This co-ordinated approach shows how the Coalition Government is making a really strong impact on European economic reform and creating opportunities for enterprise. It also demonstrates the close relationship between MEPs and Government. The next challenge is to deliver the promised results.
Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands, UK.
Chairman of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.
The UK is open for business and brimming with talent, innovation and entrepreneurial flair. Despite the difficult economic climate, the number of businesses in the UK continues to grow: today there are nearly 100,000 more small and medium sized businesses in the UK than there were at the start of 2010. That's a great achievement but we know we can do even better.
That is why I am so supportive of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2011. It starts today and it continues to be the biggest celebration of enterprise in the UK. This year we expect at least 200,000 people to participate in events up and down the country, and over 10 million worldwide.
Global Entrepreneurship Week is about growing enterprise ambition and ensuring that those with ideas know where to get the support they need to make them a reality. It's about creating jobs and opportunities: small business in the UK employs nearly 60 per cent of the workforce and contributes almost half of UK turnover. That's why encouraging enterprise is vital to getting our economy growing.
Proof of our commitment to this agenda lies in the strong measures we are introducing to help entrepreneurs. We have the entrepreneur visa, to encourage the brightest talent from around the world to come to Britain, incentives for angel investors and an extension of the Enterprise Investment Scheme. Looking at business more broadly, we are simplifying the tax system in the UK and introducing a Patent Box to encourage firms to innovate in Britain. We are boosting tax relief for start ups, small business R&D and entrepreneurs. We want to get credit flowing and are looking at the options to increase access to credit for small firms.
But we are doing more than that - increasing investment and exports; rebalancing the economy by setting up Enterprise Zones across the country, encouraging inward investment; stimulating business growth across England through the Regional Growth Fund; and promoting British exports abroad. We are also creating the largest number of apprenticeships the UK has ever seen - 360,000 this year alone - and establishing University Technical Colleges to provide cutting edge vocational training.
This week is about showing off the talents of entrepreneurs in the UK and inspiring the entrepreneurs of the future. They have no greater champion than this Government. Every success story starts with someone taking the brave step of striking out on their own. The more we can encourage people to take that step, the better for them, for our economy, and for our country.
Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP
Today, the Prime Minister announced a business growth package to help Britain's small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) create jobs, export to new markets, secure finance and cut red tape.
Measures include a £95 million investment from the Regional Growth Fund to benefit hundreds of small businesses. This funding will support those SMEs considering investing in new capital assets and is expected to create at least 4,000 jobs and unlock around £500 million of new investment.
Speaking at the 'Exporting for Growth' conference in central London today, Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"British SMEs are already doing incredible things, but we urgently need more of them to follow that boldness. We need this to be a country where more people think 'I can start my own business and I can sell to the world.
"Our determination is to come through these difficult times stronger, to trade our way to growth and jobs. We need to show real optimism about the future, and we need to show real aggression about pursuing Britain's interests in the world. The markets are there to be tapped; the deals are there to be done, the opportunities are there to be capitalised on. Now together we must seize them."
In the UK automotive industry there is a renewed drive to rebalance the economy and create one that is more driven by manufacturing and exports. There is also a challenge of creating a low carbon society that benefits industry.
Working collaboratively with government through the Automotive Council, industry has developed a common technology roadmap for developing low carbon vehicle technologies over the next 20 to 30 years. This framework of key technologies can be used as a guide to collaborate R&D funding that organisations such as the Technology Strategy Board provide. Based on this we have charted the UK's technological and industrial capabilities to identify the areas that are key to achieving low carbon targets while allowing the UK to have strength in its industrial ability.
The automotive industry already plays a substantial role in the UK economy by employing over 700,000 people. Its products are by far the largest manufacturing export in the UK, selling over 75% of all vehicles and 70% of engines overseas.
Recently, there has been a shift in the political outlook as a result of the recession and a recognition that designing, developing and manufacturing here means that we can sell abroad as a priority. This is where the UK industry is well placed to generate greater returns for the economy.
What is interesting is that while there is greater scope to create employment and investment through the manufacturers, the real opportunities are further down the supply chain. Over the past 20 to 30 years we have seen the 'hollowing out of the supply chain' with manufacturers choosing to source goods increasingly in Eastern Europe and Asia. Now, there is a reversal of that trend with companies actively trying to resource, or repatriate, sourcing back to the UK for a number of reasons.
The main one is the cost of transport is increasing significantly, and extended supply chains are not only expensive, but also more vulnerable. We have seen a variety of instances over the past few years where events have disrupted the supply chain. For example if something has to come from China it takes a significant amount of time to arrive so manufacturers have had to hold large stocks to ensure that the product lines don't stop. Many companies do not see this as sustainable in the long term.
However, the benefits of sourcing in low cost countries haven't materialised. Wage inflation and rising costs in Asia and Eastern Europe eliminates the savings that were going to be made by sourcing in the east. The costs associated with maintaining high quality from extended supply chains can be very difficult. Sending out a team to China to address quality issue is both difficult and time consuming for most companies. Obviously, this is much easier if the distributor is located down the road.
So, the future for UK automotive is bright. A wave of recent investment announcements assures the future, while a move to local sourcing guarantees supply chain jobs. These factors, combined with the prospects for the UK in the R&D, testing and manufacture of low and ultra-low carbon technologies mean that sustainable growth is a genuine opportunity for industry. With supportive government policies and international investment in our expertise, plant and machinery, UK automotive can be the catalyst for economic recovery, growth and prosperity.
Chief Executive of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
New statistics out today show a huge surge in the number of apprenticeships in England following the extra investment delivered by the Coalition Government.
The figures show:
163,000 more people starting an apprenticeship in the last academic year compared to the year before. A 58 per cent increase in apprenticeships in one year. Advanced apprenticeships saw the biggest growth, with a 69 per cent increase. Thousands more apprenticeships at all ages. The Coalition has delivered by 2011 double the number of apprenticeship starts Gordon Brown promised by 2013.
John Hayes MP, the Minister for Skills, welcomed the figures:
"The increase in apprenticeships delivered by this government is unprecedented.
"After one year we're clearly on track to deliver the extra 250,000 apprenticeships we promised. And we have shown up Labour's poverty of ambition by already delivering double the number of apprenticeships they pledged by 2013.
"Apprenticeships are a vital tool for tackling youth unemployment and improving the skills of our workforce. This government will continue to promote and value apprenticeships."
On Thursday, I caught the Entrepreneur's Express North to the MADE Festival in Sheffield. Both the train, and later the festival itself, were full of bright, enthusiastic young entrepreneurs, soaking up advice on how to start their own firms or sharing their experience of doing business in Britain.
But it struck me that even at MADE, in such an optimistic, dynamic, 'can-do' atmosphere it was obvious that Britain's business owners and managers are desperate for government to get to grips with red tape and bureaucracy. They don't want expensive grant schemes or subsidies, they just want government to create a competitive environment in which they are free to thrive, innovate and create jobs.
I remember that feeling of optimism when I started my business, back in the 1990s – and I remember how frustrating red tape was back then, too. Of course, nobody wants to scrap regulation entirely – well designed regulation is critical to the effective operation of markets, and the protection of consumers and employees. But poorly-designed or unnecessary red tape is a real brake on growth, and ever since I have been committed to cutting that burden wherever we can.
That is why, this morning, we published the second Statement of New Regulation. This document lists all the regulations that government departments plan to scrap or introduce – or in some cases, have already scrapped or introduced – between July and December of this year. It's a summary of how well the new 'One-in, One-out' system is working. And it holds some modest good news for hard-pressed businesses and the entrepreneurs I met last week.
Combined with the first Statement of New Regulation, covering January to June of this year, we've seen a £3 billion saving for employers from the new indexation of pensions and the capping of other regulatory costs during 2011. The number of de-regulatory measures has increased three-fold between the first and second halves of the year. And 60 per cent of departments have delivered a net reduction in the cost that they impose on business. In short, this Statement shows that between July and December of this year there are ten 'INS' but 25 'OUTS'.
When combined with everything else that the Government is doing to tackle bureaucracy, this represents real progress. The Red Tape Challenge – which is looking at all 21,000 existing regulations and giving individuals and businesses the chance to tell us what works and what doesn't, what should be simplified and what should be scrapped – has identified 160 retail regulations to be ditched or merged, with more sectors and themes to report in coming weeks. Britain's smallest businesses, and new start-ups, continue to benefit from the moratorium on new domestic regulation. And by directly copying EU regulations straight into domestic law, we've ended 'gold plating' to stop British firms being placed at a competitive disadvantage to their European counterparts.
There remains a long way to go. But this Statement shows that the culture in Whitehall is changing. People are beginning to realise that regulation must be a last resort, not the first option. And in this challenging economic period, every hurdle that we remove from the path of a new start-up or existing firm means better growth, more private sector employment, and greater progress toward re-building and re-balancing our economy.
Mark Prisk MP
Minister for Business and Enterprise
"It's the economy, stupid" – a famous quote from an American Presidential election which rang true then and in many respects still applies today.
The economy matters. It matters to a country, to businesses, to individuals and quite obviously to places such as Carlisle. It is for that reason, as the recently elected MP, I have taken a keen interest in the local economy and how I can help to ensure that it develops and grows in a beneficial way.
Since my election I have seen my role very much as one which helps to encourage all the various businesses, education providers and public sector organisations, (especially the councils), come together and work constructively to raise the ambitions of the city and to grow its economy. This has involved two mini conferences, between business and council officials and councillors, one conference between businesses and education providers and a series of breakfast meetings sponsored by local businesses.
A successful local economy creates jobs and prosperity. It helps individuals and families to have a better standard of living and in many cases a better quality of life. If there is money invested in housing developments, the whole community is regenerated. Shops and restaurants are of a higher quality and an area is boosted. And of course a growing and successful economy means higher tax receipts which will finance the public sector - resulting in better schools, health care, infrastructure and many other desirable services.
Carlisle is a city which has punched below its weight for many years. If we can create an environment which raises the aspirations of those who live, work and are educated in the city, Carlisle will be well placed to expand and develop over the next few years.
Why the optimism, particularly given the present economic climate? Quite simply Carlisle has all of the ingredients for success.
Tourism – Physical evidence of history which include Hadrian's Wall, a castle and a cathedral. In addition, a respected local museum, an attractive city centre and the Lake District and Scotland accessible within an hour.
Education - Rapidly improving schools, an excellent College and a fledging University.
Industry - A strong manufacturing base producing world recognised products. A stable agricultural industry, a large number of small businesses and a healthy infrastructure which has contributed towards their survival throughout the recession.
Nevertheless economic success pivots upon the ability to pull all of these ingredients together, improving them where required and ensuring the correct mix to produce a more dynamic, economic growth.
That is my aspiration for Carlisle.
John Stevenson MP
Yesterday's announcement of 11 new Enterprise Zones, including in my own constituency of Harlow, is a step toward Britain's economic recovery.
For Harlow, this is a huge vote of confidence and a thumbs up from the Government. It will pay massive dividends in years to come, with benefits including super-fast broadband and reduced planning restrictions. On top of this, business rates will be recycled into the local economy, as well as other pro-growth measures.
But Enterprise Zones - important as they are - are just one building block of George Osborne's growth strategy.
We are dropping new regulations that would have cost businesses £350 million this year. Start-ups will be exempt from new domestic regulation for three years. Corporation tax has been slashed, to as low as 20p for small businesses, and we've stopped the most damaging part of Labour's planned hike in National Insurance, which would have been a tax on jobs.
If you add in the Chancellor's cut in fuel duty, Britain is rapidly becoming the most business-friendly economy in the G20.
But there's more. The Government is providing funding for up to 250,000 more Apprenticeships over the next four years, and funding for 100,000 work placements over the next two years, to tackle the legacy of youth unemployment that we inherited in 2010. My sincere hope is that the lion's share of these go to small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our economy.
With a record number of Apprentices starting this year, thanks to John Hayes and Michael Gove, and the creation of 24 new University Technical Schools, skills are not being forgotten. We are lucky in my constituency to have Harlow College - one of the best technical colleges in the country - which has welcomed the extra apprenticeship funding in the 2011 Budget. In fact, Harlow College has applied to be one of the first University Technical Colleges, and has a strong bid.
But Government intervention isn't the only answer. It's up to businesses and charities to innovate, and to do their bit, too. That's why I have been working with the NUS to establish an 'Apprentice Card', which we launched recently, and will include apprentices from Morrisons, Rolls Royce, JCB, Jaguar LandRover, Next, and other great British firms. It has absolutely zero Government funding, and is 100% private-sector led. The scheme will give apprentices the same benefits as students - a cheaper cost of living, interest free overdrafts and access to training and support.
Like many Conservative MPs, I have also employed my own apprentice in Parliament. Yes, apprenticeships are key to our growth strategy, but they are about social justice as well, giving skills and prosperity to young people.
Overall, Britain's recovery is bound to be choppy, with the Eurozone crisis. But taken together, our economic policies will help people to take control of their lives, with opportunity for the many, not the few.
Robert Halfon MP
Over their 13 years in power Labour strangled Britain's high streets with red tape. This Government is now slashing scores of regulations to help businesses grow.
As part of the Red Tape Challenge, unveiled by the Cabinet Office, local high streets will be among the first to benefit from the Government's plan to remove the rules and regulations holding back British firms.
In addition, the Department for Communities and Local Government this week announced plans to simplify Whitehall planning guidance, including a 'town centre first' approach whereby town centres should be recognised by councils as being at the heart of communities and that local authorities should pursue policies that support the viability and vitality of town centres.
Labour's plans to 'revive the High Street' - which include an massive unfunded cut in VAT - are a vain attempt to hide the damage left by their planning regulations, rises in business rates and the Whitehall-imposed changes to licensing laws.
Labour's repeated call for a cut in VAT has been labelled as 'crazy' by the Financial Times.
Local Government Minister Greg Clark said: "We will not take lectures from Labour about the high streets that they spent years undermining when in office. Labour's planning rules hiked up parking charges; they raised business rates by stealth and their licensing laws made towns less safe at night, driving people away.
"In addition to ripping up the red tape on businesses, this Government has scrapped Whitehall rules on town centres, doubled small business rate relief for two years and is giving councils more powers to tackle late-night antisocial behaviour."
The Conservative Party is providing entrepreneurs with a unique opportunity to showcase their ideas at the Conservative Party Conference in the 'Start-Up Hub'.
The Conservative Party Annual Conference event is one of the largest political gatherings in the UK, with an attendance of nearly 13,500 delegates. The Start-Up Hub gives entrepreneurs a chance to market their idea in front of delegates, national press, company representatives and senior Conservative politicians.
About the competition
Successful applicants will get:
How to apply
Full details and booking form is available at www.conservatives.com/startuphub
Statistics published today by the Government show it has exceeded its ambition of delivering 50,000 additional adult apprenticeships (announced in May 2010) over the 2010-11 financial year, by actually delivering more than 103,000 additional adult apprenticeships than were projected under the previous government's plans.
Provisional data shows that a total of 257,000 adult apprenticeships have been delivered between April 2010 and March 2011.
By the end of this Parliament, the Coalition Government is committed to supporting an additional 250,000 apprenticeships, compared to the previous Labour Government's plans.
John Hayes MP, Minister for Skills, said:
'We have met our target for new apprenticeships in 2010-11 twice over. In only nine months, we are almost halfway towards achieving our aim of an extra 250,000 apprenticeships over this parliament. And figures suggest this government has created more new apprenticeships in one year than Labour managed in seven.
'But there is no room for complacency. Apprenticeships are a vital tool for re-building the economy after the last government ran it into the ground.'
Before entering the House I set up and ran a number of businesses in the Brighton area. I also sit on the Business, Skills and Innovation Select Committee. Therefore I am delighted to be contributing an article to conservativebusiness.co.uk. Undoubtedly it is private sector growth which will be vital to drive the recovery of our economy.
Through the use of technology, such as high speed broadband, Brighton and the area around it, is rightly considered a major powerhouse surging forward from the recent recession.
We have major digital players like Disney working from a base in Brighton, but also the new Amex Community Stadium in my constituency which will create hundreds of new jobs. American Express are also rebuilding and expanding their premises in the City Centre, and several hundred jobs were transferred from Spain to Brighton because they are impressed with Brighton's economic promise.
However a number of issues are still holding back the potential of businesses, particularly small and medium sized enterprises, in Brighton and the surrounding area. These are the burden of regulation and access to credit.
Since taking office I have tabled a number of Parliamentary Questions to raise the issue of removing unnecessary regulation and I have been impressed at the action the Coalition Government has taken to help reduce the burden on businesses as they seek to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.
An example of this is the excessive health and safety regulations, which serve as a disincentive to small and medium sized businesses employing new staff and expanding their operations.
Similarly, I have repeatedly pressed the Government about access to finance for small and medium sized businesses in my constituency, and again I have been delighted by the action of the Government on this important issue, for instance the four year extension to the Enterprise Finance Guarantee. The EFG is a scheme where small businesses, with either little credit history, or a small number of assets to act as security, can access the capital their business needs. The extension will see the Government providing a further £2 billion over 4 years.
I also welcomed the Government's vital practical assistance to new firms included in the Department for Business, Skills and Innovations "Bigger, better business: Helping small firms start, grow and prosper" publication.
I am keen to ensure Brighton remains at the forefront of the economic recovery and believe that with a Government which is clearly committed to growth, we are well placed to do so.
Simon Kirby MP
Conservative Party Vice Chairman Alan Lewis yesterday visited Southampton to continue the Party's engagement with universities, business organisation and entrepreneurs across the UK.
He met with the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and heard firsthand the issues concerning their members in the area.
The Vice Chairman then went on to a business lunch kindly hosted by KPMG in the centre of the city attended by more representatives of the Southampton business community. At the lunch they discussed how business organisations and entrepreneurial groups are working together to encourage growth in the area.
During the visit Alan Lewis also met with the University of Southampton and their Science Park team to discuss how the University offers business incubator space, encourages entrepreneurialism and fosters a business approach amongst its students.
Today the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has strongly supported the Government's economic policy, saying that deficit reduction is 'essential' and making clear that the Government should not change course.
In a report published today the IMF reaffirmed their support for the UK's deficit reduction plan. They wrote that 'strong fiscal consolidation is underway and remains essential' and that 'the current settings of fiscal and monetary policy remain appropriate.'
After spending two weeks in the UK, at a time when the Labour Party are saying that we should change course, the IMF have publicly asked themselves the question 'whether it is time to adjust macroeconomic policies' and they have concluded definitively that 'the answer is no'.
In his introductory remarks, Chancellor George Osborne said: 'I welcome the IMF's continued strong support for our overall macroeconomic policy mix, including our deficit reduction strategy. As the opening sentence of their report states, "the post-crisis repair of the UK economy is underway".'
Devon boasts some unique industries that are tied to the history of this Country. Axminster Carpets have been manufacturing since 1755 and their wares can be found in homes the world over, including Clarence House, the home of the Prince of Wales. Lace from the town of Honiton has been used in Speaker of the Common's robes and the young Queen Victoria had her wedding dress made of Honiton lace.
But times have changed since then. The internet has empowered small and medium sized businesses to expand their reach, compete in the market place and has allowed areas that are geographically isolated to become exporters of e-commerce goods and services. In 2009 the internet contributed an estimated £100 billion to the UK economy and is set to grow by 10% a year for the next five years.
Devon is in danger of digital exclusion and missing out on next generation broadband. It has been estimated that 86% of the communities in Devon could be at risk of being excluded from Next Generation Access, compared with 49% nationally.
The current estimates are that 31,566 premises across Devon receive less than 2Mbps and 22% of rural businesses in Devon say that this lack of connectivity is constraining productivity and growth. This is exacerbated by Devon's strategic road and rail weaknesses and its distance from other markets in the UK.
That is why I have been supporting Devon and Somerset Local Authorities' plan to submit a joint bid for funds from the Government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) agency, which will put an end to the broadband black-spots that are constraining businesses and communities in Devon.
The Government has given BDUK a £530 million fund to assist with the roll out of superfast broadband to those predominantly rural areas that private companies are unable to invest in. The Government's aim to create the best network in Europe is vital for the types of business in Devon. Improved connectivity means more people can work from home and encourage start ups. It will also allow farmers to submit much of their paperwork online and cut the cost of bureaucracy for agricultural businesses.
Neil Parish MP
Member of Parliament for Tiverton and Honiton
The Government has today announced new areas that it will consider reforming as part of its review of employment red tape – including collective redundancy consultation periods, the Transfer Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations (TUPE) and compensation for discrimination awarded by employment tribunals.
The ongoing review is an important part of the Government's plans to deliver growth by breaking down barriers, boosting opportunities and creating the right conditions for businesses to start up and thrive.
The Chancellor said:
"If we are to support private sector growth and create jobs, we can't shy away from looking at difficult issues like employment law. Examining these areas of the law which could be holding back job creation demonstrates the Government's commitment to go for growth."
More details can be found on the DBIS website here.
The history of the West Midlands as the crucible of the Industrial Revolution is well-known and justly-deserved. The region was a manufacturing hub that drove innovation and production throughout the rest of the country and, indeed, the world.
Under Labour, however, the story was quite different. Employment in the manufacturing sector fell consistently, with the trend accelerating in recent years. In December 1996, 575,500 people (or 22.4% of the West Midlands workforce) were employed in manufacturing. By December 2010, this figure had more than halved, dropping to 285,500 people (or 11.2%).
Recent statistics, however, show the recovery of the UK manufacturing industry, with an encouraging upsurge in orders at home and abroad. Despite this, we need to address the long-term challenges facing industry: while low-wage foreign competition does account for some of the difficulties experienced, we also need to recognise that they have been caused by a domestic lack of motivation and skills."
This Government is taking long-overdue action on both points. The introduction of the universal credit will provide the right incentives for more people to move into employment, thereby expanding the size of the workforce in the West Midlands. This Government will make sure that people on out-of-work benefits are always financially better off in work rather than out of work.
This will be complimented by a skills revolution, ensuring that we have more talented people available to industry. At school, too many young people are currently pushed into taking qualifications which don't help their future employment prospects or options for staying in education. That's why the government is right to establish a new generation of university technical colleges, delivering high quality vocational education from the age of 14. Furthermore, apprenticeships should no longer be seen as the poor relations of university degrees, which is why this government is delivering more apprenticeships over the next four years than ever before – 250,000 more than the last government planned.
Globalisation and increasing competition from emerging markets mean that we have no time to lose in re-building our manufacturing base. There's no rabbit we can pull out of the hat, but the measures this Government has already begun to implement are big steps in the right direction.
Sajid Javid MP
Member of Parliament for Bromsgrove
New figures released show the economy grew by 0.5% in the first three months of this year.
George Osborne said: "It's particularly good news that manufacturing is growing so strongly when we've had such an unbalanced economy in recent years and manufacturing hasn't done well. And, of course, jobs have been created since the new year and Government borrowing is down.
"Of course, around the world we are facing some choppy economic conditions - a big rise in the oil price in recent months. You see countries dealing with very high budget deficits, and we've got one of the highest.
"But I think that reinforces our determination to stick to the course, and the economy is growing and that's good news."
Other recent figures show:
The focus of the Budget was to encourage economic growth. We published our Plan for Growth setting out four over-arching ambitions. Our first ambition is to create the most competitive tax system in the G20.
A competitive tax system is crucial for private sector investment and growth. It provides business with the confidence to invest and expand.
This is something we have always recognised and we announced reductions to corporation tax in the June Budget and published the roadmap in November. This Budget announces that the Government will reduce the main rate of corporation tax by one per cent on top of the rate cuts announced last year. From April this year, the rate will be reduced from 28 per cent to 26 per cent and to 23 per cent by 2014. This will be the lowest rate in the G7, and the 5th lowest in the G20.
We also confirmed the reform of Controlled Foreign Company rules including introducing an internationally competitive 5.75 per cent UK tax rate on overseas financing income, and introduce an opt-in exemption from corporation tax on the profits of foreign branches. This will encourage businesses to be based here and allow UK multinationals to compete more effectively with those based overseas. Already we are seeing indications of businesses relocating to the UK - reversing the pattern under the previous Government.
The Government also recognises that many businesses are hit by rising fuel prices, so we cut to fuel duty by 1 penny per litre from 6pm on Budget Day, delayed the RPI increase in fuel duty due on 1 April and announced the introduction of the fair fuel stabiliser, which will reduce costs for business when oil prices are high.
Complexity of the tax system can add significant burdens to business. The Budget announces measures to address this, including abolishing 43 tax reliefs whose rationale is no longer valid and consulting this year on options to integrate the operation of income tax and National Insurance Contributions to remove distortions, reduce burdens on business and improve fairness.
Our tax measures have been widely welcomed by business groups and demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that Britain is open for business. However, our work does not stop with these measures and we will continue to look at ways to make our tax system simpler and more competitive for British businesses and entrepreneurs.
David Gauke MP
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
The Government remains committed to creating an environment in which businesses can grow and create jobs, and tackling the burden of unnecessary regulation will go a long way towards freeing enterprise to compete and generate balanced, sustainable growth.
At the FSB Annual Conference in Liverpool, I set out five new steps that the Government is taking to save British business hundreds of millions of pounds in lost time and money. We will:
These measures come on top of the work completed in the months since we took office. Already, we have established the 'One In, One Out' system promised in our manifesto and outlined in the Government's first Budget; ended the 'gold plating' of European regulations by adopting a 'copy-out' principle across Whitehall and avoiding early implementation; and outlined a consultation on changes to the employment tribunal system that will tackle vexatious claims and boost employer confidence.
This is real progress but there is a great deal still to do; getting rid of the red tape and bureaucracy created by 13 years of Labour rule is a long and sometimes difficult process.
Mark Prisk MP
Minister for Business & Enterprise
Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to "tackle regulation with vigour" and challenged the public to give evidence from the real world on which regulations are working and which are creating obstacles.
Ministers said that red tape and bureaucracy had been allowed to spiral out of control, burdening businesses, hurting the economy and damaging society.
Mr Cameron said: "There are over 21,000 statutory rules and regulations in force, and I want us to bring that number – and the burden it represents – down. Indeed, I want us to be the first government in modern history to leave office having reduced the overall burden of regulation, rather than increasing it."
The government said that regulations for a specific sector or industry would be published every few weeks, and the public would be asked to give views on what rules are working, what should be simplified, and what should be scrapped.
From 7 April to 5 May the site will look at regulation in the retail sector
Read more: Red Tape Challenge
On Tuesday 5th April we held the 6th in our series of panel discussions. This time it was the Construction and Property industry sharing their views with their peers, senior Conservatives and Government Minister.
The panel was chaired by Alan Lewis the Conservative Vice Chairman for Business who led the session alongside Mark Prisk MP, Minister for Business and Enterprise and James Morris MP. Andrew Wates, Former Chairman of Wates Construction, and Roger Robinson, CEO of Laing O'Rourke were also on the panel to provide their expert views on the industry.
At the event several key issues were raised and addressed. These included the impact of regional spatial strategies, the Construction Levy, Local Enterprise Partnerships, encouraging apprenticeships, the Green Deal and procurement procedures for SMEs.
If you would like to contribute to the discussion please visit our LinkedIn page.
Ken Clarke has announced a crackdown on the damaging compensation culture that is costing businesses millions of pounds a year.
The plan is part of the Government's mission to curtail the unwieldy courts system and deliver swifter, easier and less costly access to justice for all.
This is the first major overhaul of civil justice for 15 years and will reform the controversial 'no win – no fee' deals that have proved expensive and resulted in unnecessary litigation tying up businesses, school, hospitals and a raft of other organisations in needlessly costly court proceedings.
The proposals for consultation include:
Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, said:
"An effective system of civil justice is one of the cornerstones of a civilised society. Without it businesses couldn't trade, individuals couldn't protect their liberties, and government couldn't be held to account. But, despite this, most people dread going to court because of all the cost and anxiety it involves. We must change that by helping them to avoid court where possible and cutting costs where that is unavoidable."
And he added, "With no major reform for 15 years, the civil justice system has got out of kilter. Businesses and other people who have been sued can find that spiralling legal costs, slow court processes, unnecessary litigation, and the 'no win, no fee' structures which mean greater payments to lawyers than to claimants, are setting them back millions of pounds each year."
Over 60 leading brands have pledged millions of pounds worth of support to new entrepreneurs under a major new campaign launched by the Prime Minister today.
The campaign, known as StartUp Britain, will deliver support and advice for new enterprises.
By championing the 270,000 businesses that start up every year in the UK, ministers said StartUp Britain will accelerate, inspire and celebrate Britain's start-up talent.
As well as having government backing, the campaign has won support from international companies like Barclays, BlackBerry, Experian, Intel, Microsoft, McKinsey & Co. and Virgin Media.
The firms have already pledged services and benefits including advertising and marketing, office space, broadband, finance and mentoring support for start-ups.
In total Startup Britain will deliver a benefit package that represents over £1500 in value for every start-up company in Britain.
The Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"We won't build the future we want to see in this country if we go back to the bad old days of big government spending, big borrowing and big debt. The recovery we need is a private sector-led recovery, a recovery with 'Made in Britain' stamped all over it.
"We need to see a country where new businesses are starting up on every street, in every town; where entrepreneurs are everywhere.
"We put out a call to business to rise up and help us drive the recovery and StartUp Britain is part of the answer to that call. That's what's really exciting about this. The people best placed to help business are the people who do business."
The Chancellor has delivered his Budget to the House of Commons, pledging to "put fuel into the tank of the British economy".
George Osborne set out his ambitions for Britain: that this country should have the most competitive tax system in the G20; be the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business; become a more balanced economy, and have a more educated and flexible workforce.
The key measures announced in the speech were:
The Chancellor said: , "We want the words: 'Made in Britain, 'Created in Britain', 'Designed in Britain', 'Invented in Britain', to drive our nation forward. A Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers. That is how we will create jobs and support families. We have put fuel into the tank of the British economy."
Small Businesses and start-ups will be exempt from new domestic regulation for three years, it was announced today.
A moratorium on new domestic regulation will be accompanied by a public audit of existing rules and regulations, and the repeal of the regulations extending the right to request flexible working to parents of 17 year olds for all businesses, which was due to be introduced on 6 April 2011.
Sunset clauses will mean that new regulations are reviewed after five years to see if they are effective, if they are still necessary, and whether the costs to business can be reduced. Ministers said that the changes would allow entrepreneurs to concentrate on growing their businesses rather than government changes.
Chairman of the Better Regulation Executive Sir Don Curry said;
'For some time now, I have been pressing Government to recognise the burden regulation places on our small and micro-businesses. So, I am delighted that this exemption has been introduced. I would urge Government to continue to look at measures such as this to continue to help economic growth.'
When Prime Minister David Cameron offered me the post of Tourism and Heritage Minister last May he set me the challenge of making Britain one of the top five destinations in the world. Tourism is a vital part of our country's economy – it generates £90 billion every year, employs 1.36 million people and supports 200,000 businesses – so it's no surprise that the Government sees it as a key element in our plans to grow the economy and get Britain back on its feet.
That's why earlier this month I launched the Government's Tourism Strategy, a blueprint of practical ideas designed to attract an extra four million overseas visitors over the next four years and bring in an extra £2 billion of spending, creating thousands of jobs across the country. It's the accumulation of ten months work with the industry and centres on removing the obstacles that are preventing it from growing.
Courtesy of Neil Phillips Photography
The next four years are set to be the most important and successful for the tourism industry in more than a generation. The Royal Wedding, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup in 2015 are just some of the events that will be taking place and the sector needs to be able to make as much out of these opportunities as possible.
The strategy includes many practical ideas, such as simplifying the process of getting tourist visas, helping to improve staff skills in the tourism sector and consulting on whether to lengthen the tourism season by moving the May Day bank holiday, to help create the right conditions for the sector. Of course it is down to businesses to make the most of the opportunities, and the challenge before the sector is huge, but the rewards for us all could be greater still.
John Penrose MP
Minister of State for Tourism and Heritage
The Prime Minister has delivered the keynote speech at the Conservative Party Spring Forum in Cardiff.
The Prime Minister pointed to the "dreadful mess" Labour left behind and for spending £120 million a day on paying interest and servicing the debt.
He pledged to back small business, boost enterprise and be on the side of everyone who wants to create jobs, wealth and opportunity in the UK.
David Cameron said:
"I know there's an enterprise culture in this country. I know we've got the people, the ideas, the talent, the energy to make things great. I'm going to make sure this government does everything it takes."
And he stressed, "The Budget in a few weeks time will tear down the barriers to enterprise and be the most pro-growth Budget this country has seen for a generation."
Concluding his speech, the Prime Minister added, "Together we'll create the businesses, we'll create the jobs, we'll create the opportunities, we'll light the spark of enterprise, we'll fire our economy, we'll drive our country forward. Together, we'll do it."
The publication today of the Coalition Government's Tourism Strategy will cut red tape, free up local businesses, and re-establish the tourism industry as a key priority for restoring the UK economy.
The strategy will generate four million extra overseas visitors over the next four years, bringing an extra £2 billion worth of visitor spend in to the country and creating 50,000 new jobs. A major focus will be on maximising the potential of tourist destinations outside London.
Commenting on the publication of the strategy, Minister for Tourism John Penrose said,
"The Coalition's Tourism Strategy will make a huge difference to the economy.
"After Labour neglected tourism and suffocated the industry with red-tape, this government is committed to getting it back on track."
The full report can be found here.
On Wednesday the 2nd March we held another in our series of panel discussions. This time it was the Leisure and Tourism industry sharing their views with senior Conservatives and Government Ministers.
The panel was chaired by Alan Lewis the Conservative Vice Chairman for Business who led the session alongside John Penrose MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage and Jacqueline Foster MEP who is the Conservative Spokesman on Tourism and Transport in the European Parliament. Rupert Gavin, CEO of Odeon and UCI Cinemas, and Jonathan Neame, CEO of Shepherd Neame, were also on the panel to provide their expert views on the industry.
At the event several key issues were raised and addressed. These included how the industry is reacting to the rise in VAT, how to ensure talented new graduates are attracted to the service sector and the impact regulation is having on the industry. Many attendees were optimistic about the prospect of increased growth in the sector over the next few years with key national events such as the Olympics and Royal Wedding - showcasing the UK as a top tourist destination.
If you would like to contribute to the discussion please visit our LinkedIn page.
Britain's economic map will be redrawn, jobs created, prosperity spread and the way businesses work and compete transformed by a new high speed rail network, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has said as he launched a consultation on the Government's proposals.
Launching one of the biggest public consultations ever undertaken, the Transport Secretary also warned that Britain's transport network cannot afford to be left behind while competitor countries improve their transport infrastructure.
The Government is proposing a 'Y' shaped network linking London, the West Midlands, Manchester and Leeds, with stations in South Yorkshire and the East Midlands, and links to existing lines to enable through-running services to other cities including Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The scheme would deliver around £44bn of benefits and would cut journey times between London and other major cities by as much as an hour.
In December 2010, the Government announced its proposed route for the first phase of a high speed line between London and the West Midlands. The consultation which begins today is both on that proposed route and the Government's strategy for a wider network.
The consultation will run until 29 July and events will take place in towns and cities along the 140-mile proposed route between London and the West Midlands, as well as in major cities across the country.
Philip Hammond said:
"We must invest in Britain's future. High speed rail offers us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way we travel in the 21st century and would help us build a modern economy fit for the future.
And he added, "Countries across Europe and Asia are already pressing ahead with ambitious plans for high speed rail, while some of our key rail arteries are getting ever closer to capacity. We cannot afford to be left behind - investing in high speed rail now is vital to the prosperity of future generations."
Sixty-nine business leaders have today written to the Financial Times to back plans for high speed rail to link London, the Midlands and the North.
Industry chiefs like Willie Walsh of IAG, Ian King of BAE Systems and retail names like John Lewis, Mitchell and Butler and Wm Morrisons were joined by small and medium sized businesses to argue that high speed rail would help British industry and boost the economy, particularly in the Midlands, the North and Scotland.
Government figures show that the scheme will provide 40,000 new jobs from construction work and regeneration around stations alone.
The government will launch a consultation on high speed rail next week.
The full letter can be read here.
Have you say on this issue and join our discussion on the Business Relations LinkedIn group.
US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said he was "very impressed" by the steps taken by the Coalition Government to deal with the UK's record deficit.
Speaking to the BBC, the US Treasury Secretary praised his UK counterpart's "remarkable" strategy to restore sustainability.
Although the problems "were not created by this government," Mr Geithner said, George Osborne had "locked his coalition and the government into a set of reforms that are very good."
Asked whether cutting the deficit would damage growth, Mr Geithner said, "I don't see much risk of that at the moment".
The Treasury Secretary was critical of the "deeply costly strategy" of 'light touch' regulation in place before the financial crisis, which he said was "designed consciously to pull financial activity from New York, Frankfurt and Paris to London."
His comments were in contrast to Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls who said when he was City Minister in 2006, "nothing should be done to put at risk a light-touch, risk-based regulatory regime".
London Fashion Week which opens at Somerset House this Friday, is undoubtedly one of the most high profile events on the global fashion circuit, and one that positions London as THE fashion capital. But what is not so immediately apparent is the impact the Week, and the creativity showcased within it, has on the broader fashion industry in the UK. An industry worth £37 billion to the British Economy and one of our largest employers.
London Fashion Week is at the heart of the dynamism of the fashion sector. It not only serves as a global showcase for our talent, it also inspires and enables our thriving high street. Without the new ideas and trends shown here, there simply wouldn't be the consumer engagement and the demand. This event oils the wheels of the fashion industry.
Harold Tillman, Chairman of the British Fashion Council
The British Fashion Council's primary objective is to support our fashion designers, as they lie at the heart of the sector's dynamism. We have a number of highly effective schemes funded by the industry to nurture and develop them. These include our New Generation scheme, (now in its 15th Year of Top Shop Funding) and our annual Fashion Fund award. I believe we have achieved much to date, but so much more can be done. There are opportunities as well as challenges. The Fund, now in its second year, aims to create global brands out of our most promising designers. But more is needed to support their businesses – from education, to financial expertise, access to funding and export.
Increasingly we are seeing a rise in local manufacturing. Many people had written off the fashion industry from a manufacturing perspective but many of our young designers now manufacture here, in small specialist atelier units. And given the rising importance of country of origin, our bigger brands too (Aquascutum, Burberry Mulberry) are choosing to manufacture here. Victoria Beckham's highly successful and acclaimed fashion label is 100% Made in England & she uses this as shorthand for quality. With the right support and encouragement this offers an exciting opportunity for this country.
There is much the industry can contribute to both the nation and to its government and we are dedicated to working with the Conservative Party for the greater good - for our industry, our economy and the global reputation of Great Britain.
Chairman of Jaeger and Aquascutum
Chairman of British Fashion Council
On Tuesday, 16th February we held a panel discussion on the Energy Sector.
The panel was chaired by Alan Lewis the Conservative Vice Chairman for Business who lead the session alongside Charles Hendry MP, Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Laura Sandys MP who sits on the Energy Select Committee.
At the event several key issues and points were raised and addressed by the panel and audience. These included: energy security, skills for the next generation of civil engineers, feed in tariffs, electricity market reform and securing investment for the UK energy sector.
If you would like to contribute to the discussion please visit our LinkedIn page.
When we came into government, we inherited a system of doing business that was wasteful, inefficient and inflexible. In his efficiency review last year, Sir Philip Green uncovered some shocking examples: departments paying anything between £8 and £73 for a box of paper, for example. One problem was secrecy – contracts being signed behind closed doors, with no opportunity for public scrutiny. Another was the lack of competition, with small and medium-sized businesses, charities and social enterprises being actively discouraged by the system from competing for government contracts.
We launched a feedback portal on the Number 10 website for businesses like you to tell us what was going wrong and how we should fix it. Many of you have responded. We have heard about organisations being told they could only compete for government contracts if they had sold to government before; companies with new ideas but no mechanism to present them to us; and complaints about the complexity and lengthiness of our processes. As a result, despite accounting for 50 per cent of the turnover of the UK business economy, we estimate that SMEs only win a small proportion of the billions of pounds of public sector business.
This is unacceptable, so today we are announcing a package of measures to make doing business with government more transparent, and more welcoming to smaller companies, charities and social enterprises. Last month, we started to publish every central government contract worth over £25,000 in full, opening them up to scrutiny by potential competitors and the general public. In order to help companies find this business, we are today launching an online tool, Contracts Finder, which will display every central government tender opportunity, with an email alert facility to let you know when new ones in your area of business come up.
To reduce the time and bureaucracy in competing for a government contract, we will seek to eliminate the prequalification process for lower-value procurements, and are introducing a straightforward questionnaire for the rest that you will only need to complete once for common goods and services, rather than resubmitting the same data every time. We are also announcing a series of surgeries where companies with innovative products and services will be able to come and pitch to government – rather than waiting for the right tender to be issued.
Our ambition is that 25 per cent of government business should go to SMEs, and that many more contracts should be won by charities and social enterprises. In order to achieve this, we need your help. You can see the Number 10 portal here – if you have experience of doing business with government, continue to give us your feedback, including what you think about the announcements we are making today; and please log on to Contracts Finder, and use it to start bidding for government contracts.
There are opportunities here for all of us. By opening up government business to you, you can help us to make government less wasteful, to promote enterprise, and to modernise our public services by encouraging competition and innovation. If you think you can provide a great service to government, or you know a friend, family member, business or charity that could, then get online, get involved, be creative, be innovative and start searching for contracts now.
Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Chancellor George Osborne today announced a new deal with the country's biggest banks to curb bonuses, increase lending to small businesses and improve transparency on pay for executives.
Barclays, Lloyds Group, RBS and HSBC agreed to reduce total bonuses for UK-based staff from 2010 levels, and committed to disclose the pay of their executive board members as well as the top five highest paid executives not on the board.
As part of the talks, known as Project Merlin, the banks agreed to make available £190 billion of new credit to business in 2011, up from £179 billion actually lent in 2010. £76 billion would be made available to small and medium-sized Enterprises, up from £66 billion in 2010. The banks said that if demand exceeded these levels, they would lend more.
Also announced today was the additional commitment of £1.2 billion to support regional growth and the Big Society. Of this the banks said they would provide £200m of additional capital over two years to set up the Big Society Bank.
Welcoming the deal, Chancellor George Osborne said,
"The anger at the terrible mistakes of the banking industry, and the failure of those who regulated it, will long remain -and rightly so. But let us as a country confront this hard truth. Anger and retribution will not bring one percentage point of economic growth or create one single new job. The anger will remain. And we must never make the same mistakes again. But Britain needs to move from retribution to recovery.
"Today we get the banks to commit, with £10billion more lending for small businesses; more for our regional economies and society; £10billion more in taxes; lower bonuses and the most transparent pay regime in the world.
"In return let us build a banking industry that creates jobs for hundreds of thousands of our citizens and competes in the world. Above all let us make sure the economic catastrophe that befell this country can never be repeated. That is how this Government will clean up the mistakes of the past."
This year the successful British Airways engineering apprenticeship scheme will take on 120 students, giving more students the opportunity to become full time employees of British Airways.
Ministers also praised UK firms including British Gas, Superdrug and Procter and Gamble, which between them will create thousands of new apprenticeship places this year. BT is offering 250 places across the Group, and Jaguar Land Rover will create 1,200 new Apprenticeship places, while this year 12,000 apprentices would complete their training at Morrison's.
Calling on more firms to follow the lead of these employers, Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Minister John Hayes said that the Government wanted business to deliver 100,000 more apprentices by 2014.
John Hayes said:
"Our ultimate goal remains to see apprentices achieve equivalent esteem and status with university graduates, so that a place on an apprenticeship scheme is as valued as one at a university.
"In government, I have sought to characterise our policy by its commitment to apprenticeships. In my role as Minister at the Department for Education, I will work with the National Apprenticeship Service to bring forward plans for graduation ceremonies for apprentices and their families, together with an apprentice honour roll.
"BIS and the National Apprenticeship Service will facilitate the creation of alumni network, mirroring those currently used by graduates."
The IFS today backed the government's strategy for putting the public finances back on a sustainable footing.
In its green budget, the think tank warned that delaying the plan, as Labour calls for, could undermine investor confidence in Britain. Any fiscal loosening could push up interest rates and be 'ineffective' in helping the economy.
The IFS said it 'continued to believe that aiming to complete the fiscal repair job in one parliament is a sensible strategy as it should be more credible with international investors than a plan that involves tightening in a future parliament'. Instead, the think tank backed the OECD and the Bank of England in saying that the government should stick to its course.
The IFS said:
'Any fiscal loosening aimed at helping the economy could be ineffective if it prompts an offsetting monetary tightening, and risks undermining investor confidence that the remainder of the fiscal consolidation plan, in which the Chancellor has set such store, will be delivered.
'Having set out his fiscal consolidation plan, it is important that Chancellor George Osborne resist the temptation to engage in any significant net giveaway in the Budget.'
The Coalition government is teaming up with the British Chambers of Commerce to launch a network of Enterprise Clubs.
Merseyside will lead the charge, with the first club opened by Employment Minister Chris Grayling today in St Helens. A national network of clubs will follow.
Under the New Enterprise Allowance scheme, those unemployed for six months or more will be given financial help and specialist mentoring if they want to start their own business. Merseyside's trailblazer scheme will be rolled out nationally from the autumn, with the aim of supporting up to 40,000 new businesses over the next two years.
Mr Grayling said at the launch: "The Enterprise Clubs and the New Enterprise Allowance are part of our drive to create a much more business-friendly environment in Britain and to support the development of tens of thousands of new businesses to help rebuild our economy and create new jobs.
"We want to make sure that unemployed people with a good idea get the support they need to move into self-employment, and also that there is easily accessible advice and guidance for all kinds of new small businesses across the country.
"We want to see experienced businesses roll their sleeves up and give a helping hand to newer entrepreneurs."
David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "As we grow the economy, one option must be to encourage unemployed people to become self-employed or start their own business.
"These new Enterprise Clubs and the New Enterprise Allowance will offer real, practical help and financial assistance to the unemployed."
For all the column inches written about it in our newspapers and words spoken by economists, there's really no mystery about what drives economic growth and creates jobs. It is business and enterprise – these are the engines of our economy. It is expanding businesses and the people with the courage to strike out on their own, the curiosity to innovate and the confidence to invest who are going to fire up economic growth in our country.
That's why this government is relentlessly focussed on getting behind them. We're asking businesses what they need to grow and prosper and we're acting on the answers.
They want reassurance that the economy is sound – which is why we've taken decisive action to cut the deficit and restore sense to Britain's public finances. They want more reasonable tax rates – which is why we're now on course for the lowest corporation tax in the G7. They want the endless flow of new regulations to stop – which is why we've said that any new rule on business can only come in at the expense of an old one. And they want credit – which is why we are working hard to get Britain's banks lending again.
But speak to businesses and they'll say something else: that the balance of rights is tilted far too much in favour of employees over employers. They say it's become far too difficult to hire and fire workers, and far too easy for those workers to make unscrupulous claims against them. This not only costs our businesses a lot of money – on average around £4,000 for defending a tribunal case - but takes up a huge amount of time and effort too. Vitally, it makes businesses think twice before taking people on.
I'm determined we shift some of that balance back. That's why today we're publishing two really important documents. The first has been a long time coming: an Employer's Charter. This sets out clearly the rights they have in the workplace. For example, the right to withhold pay from those who go on strike or to sack someone for poor performance. It's all there in black and white so there's no longer any confusion.
The second is a consultation on how we can make the whole system work better. I don't just want us to sort out the practical issues – like speeding up the tribunal process and encouraging people to resolve disputes between themselves instead of through the courts. I want us to get to the real crux of the issue too. At the moment, an employee can bring a claim for unfair dismissal after working at a company for just one year. So we're proposing to extend that to two years.
All this isn't just good for employers; it's good for workers too. No one wants to spend months on end worrying about a claim. And if businesses are more confident to take people on, it means more jobs for everyone too.
Have a look at what we propose yourself. You can see the Charter and consultation here. Better still, give us your feedback. If you run a business and think we can do things in a better way, let us know. If you don't run a business but know someone who does, forward it on. And if you're a worker or lawyer who's had experience of a tribunal, let us know how we can improve the system.
Together, let's create the conditions where business is really confident to invest, and jobs, growth and prosperity are created.
Rt Hon David Cameron MP
On Tuesday, 18th January we held our first seminar of 2011, on encouraging growth in the Manufacturing sector.
The panel was chaired by Alan Lewis the Conservative Vice Chairman for Business who lead the session alongside Mark Prisk MP, Minister for Business and Enterprise. Joe Greenwell of Ford UK, Terry Scuoler of EEF, and Gavin Williamson MP were also on the panel to give their expert views on the sector.
At the event several key issues and points were raised and addressed by the panel. These included trade shows, apprenticeships and schools, the perception of the industry, CO2 emissions and climate change, regulation, support for start ups and funding for small businesses.
Top UK firms including Asda, Centrica, and Microsoft have pledged to create jobs in the UK this year as part of a drive to generate growth.
The news comes as Prime Minister David Cameron holds talks with major UK employers in a "jobs summit" in Downing Street.
300,000 jobs have been created in the private sector over the last six months, and a survey by industry federation the EEF today confirmed that the manufacturing sector was set for strong growth this year.
Launching the jobs summit, Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"We can only get our economy back on track by creating a climate in which the private sector can grow and develop, creating jobs and opportunities for people across the country. This year the Government is determined to help deliver many thousands of new jobs and I'm delighted that the companies joining me today are part of that.
"Across a whole range of areas you're going to see the most pro-business, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda ever unleashed by a government. Its time we looked forward to a positive, strong, confident Britain. By developing the right skills and jobs I am determined that the many not the few will share in the country's prosperity."
It's an early start for meetings in Yorkshire with @allott4halifax and local businesses. http://t.co/uPhpIQgKT3
2.5 days ago
RT @CBItweets: Manufacturers continuing to expect strong output growth in next 3 months, CBI Industrial Trends Survey reveals http://t.co/N…
3.2 days ago
RT @matthancockmp: Perhaps because the Employment Allowance means a third of businesses will pay no NI at all http://t.co/ynvlBZ7TzO
4 days ago