General Election 2015: KPMG chairman Simon Collins wants more focus on business and a long-term housing strategy

 
Simon Collins
Simon Collins is chairman of KPMG

ELECTION COUNTDOWN: 14 DAYS TO GO

Every day until the final week of the election campaign, we ask a business leader to say what policies would entice them to vote for a particular party.

SIMON COLLINS: CHAIRMAN, KPMG

■ My top ask is for politicians to promote business. Business creates the wealth, jobs and tax revenues that all parties are anxious to pledge. And while I understand that political hay can be made from being tough on business, there’s a difference between cracking down on irresponsible practices and demonising the engine room of the economy. So please recognise the business world for its innovation, export growth and job creation.
■ Some specifics; first we need to turbocharge the natural energy of our entrepreneurs and our SMEs, especially the high growth technology sector. KPMG’s recent survey of SMEs found that only 5% have used R&D tax credits which is too low. I would like to see a single access point for all business help initiatives. BIS and UKTI have achieved a lot in recent months and the momentum should be continued. An extension to the 100% tax relief on plant and machinery spending of up to £500,000, which is due to expire at the end of this year, would also be a positive move.
■ Secondly, the struggle for individuals to get on the property ladder is a big headache for business in the capital. The cost of buying a property is putting young people off living and working in London and business cannot afford to shrink the talent pool. The current Government’s help to buy scheme and planning reforms have been a constructive start, but we need more. We need an apolitical, long-term housing strategy to help further unlock public sector land banks, boost small and self-builders and increasing investment in affordable homes.
■ Our clients tell us consistently that infrastructure is a major business concern. Politicians need to create a rapid ‘can do’ approach to infrastructure through bolder planning and investment. The difficulty of a 5 year electoral cycle and the long-term nature of investment makes this difficult but no less important. Business needs politicians with a long term vision.
Visit our General Election poll tracker to see how the polls changed in the build-up to election day. 

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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