The Spirit of Enterprise and The Conservative Vision

george os

Clare Ambrosino discusses why the one hundred entrepreneurs who petitioned Ed Milliband are right to fear a Labour Government.

In the run up to this most particular of elections, in the scrabble for votes, it is easy to get waylaid by the love life of the “happy warrior” or debates on kitchens. This may all be very interesting from a human point of view, and may even throw light on the honesty and reliability of a candidate, however, let us not lose sight of what really matters and that has to be the economy.

In a global economic meltdown Britain is navigating its way through icy waters and George Osborne, with a firm hand on the helm, has had a clear vision from the outset.

What’s more, this vision is working.

Over the last four years, Osborne’s commitment to austerity has attempted to re-hook the British economy to the train of “entrepreneurial capitalism”. Contrary to continental Europe, the Conservatives’ decision to slim down the state does not have a moralistic vein. In fact, the Germans had to invent the term “Austeritȁt” to bring the weakened and indebted Mediterranean states back on track, the Germans themselves identify more with the term “Den gȕrtel enger schnallen”- “ tighten your belt”. In Conservative Britain, reducing public spending has meant encouraging growth by other means, making the State less of a burden for tax payers, particularly those who are animated by the spirit of enterprise.

The results of Osborne’s policy speak for themselves. With growth index of 2.5% this year and 2.6% in 2014, Britain is in pole position for growth in the western world. By working in tandem with the Bank of England, the Government has managed to keep interest rates low and maintain cash flow, thus avoiding sending the markets into panic. Unafraid to swim against the flow, by reducing taxes for businesses, The Chancellor has created a situation whereby Britain is now one of the only countries in Europe which has a healthy job market. One wonders what Thomas Piketty would have to say.

In the recent Budget, Osborne announced yet more strategic tax reductions, for the oil industry, for savers and for first time buyers. In addition, he further cut the Corporate Income tax (CIT) from 28% to 20% for enterprises and profits and de- fiscalised profits on patents and capital costs. This is in direct contrast to the tendency of other European states which have increased corporate tax in an effort to get out of the economic bunker they find themselves in and, in so doing, have paralysed their countries’ jobs market.

As the daughter of Anglo-Italian parents, who run a business in Italy, I have first hand experience of the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs in that country. The taxes imposed on businesses there are unsustainable and this, together with stifling red tape and bureaucracy, has led to extreme discomfort for the business community. Italian statistics speak for themselves, companies are in standby and are simply not taking on new staff. Even when companies have capital, they do not invest in manpower but use their money to buy financial tools and luxury properties in London. This may be good news for the Square Mile and for the capital’s estate agents, but it is not doing Italy much good and the country is currently experiencing a literal drain on its intellectual and economic resources. The same would happen to Britain if the situation were reversed.


Small businesses are growing under the Conservatives

That it isn’t, is due to the courageous and strategic policies of the Conservative government. In fact, the Government has recently announced the launch of the London Co-investment Fund which will see £25 million invested in 156 start up businesses in the sectors of technology, digital and science sectors over the next three years. In return for the investment, businesses are expected to contribute towards the fund’s target of creating more than 2,500 new jobs.

Another very attractive innovation, which will lend support to entrepreneurs throught the UK, is the Enterprising Libraries scheme. Organised by the Arts Council and the British Library in partnership with the British and Intellectual Property Centre, the scheme has, since its launch in 2013, helped ten libraries throughout the country to become hubs where would- be entrepreneurs can find expert help in making their idea become a reality. To an initial funding of £1.2 million, the Government last month pledged a further £650,000, meaning that two more Enterprising Libraries can be implemented.

Naturally, the business nurturing nature of Britain, under the Tory Party, is not only encouraging British entrepreneurs but is also attracting much needed investment from abroad. The UK Trade and Investment agency helps companies to set up shop on our shores, as does the very slim bureaucracy which is particularly appealing to entrepreneurs from countries with much slower procedures. In fact it takes 24 hours to set up a company in Britain and an average of only 13 days before it can become operative and the reduction of corporate tax to 20% makes Britain a very attractive place indeed for foreign investors. Foreign investment or British enterprise, all new business can only be a good thing for the British economy. To turn an old adage on its head, where there’s brass, there’s jobs!

In order for an economy to flourish you need businesses which create jobs and in order for business to flourish, you need more than the usual premise of a gap in the market. Perhaps more important is whether there is a market in the gap!

Britain governed by the Conservatives is a place where markets are thrive and this leaves scope for seedling businesses to take root. By providing entrepreneurs with the right environment, Britain is a beacon of hope and an example to other failing economies. The proof is in the pudding; with intelligent leadership and innovative policies the Conservatives have succeeded in using austerity to create growth and opportunity. Other countries recognise this, lets hope the British voters do too.

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