General Election 2015: What our business leaders want from the next government

 
Lauren Fedor
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More than three-quarters of respondents mentioned either entrepreneurship or education
City leaders want the next government to back new businesses in a big way, supporting start-ups and promoting financial education in schools, according to a survey by City A.M.
For the last three weeks, City A.M. has asked leaders of FTSE 100 companies and Tech City start-ups alike what policies would entice them to vote for a particular party today.
The results are in, and more than three-quarters of respondents mentioned either entrepreneurship or education in their answers.
KPMG chairman Simon Collins said the next government needs to “turbo-charge” entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses by increasing access to research and development tax credits.
Sam Smith, chief executive of FinnCap, a broker to Aim companies, agreed, calling on the next government to put in place further tax breaks for investing in growth companies, while maintaining tax relief for entrepreneurs.
Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia likewise said government policies should “incentivise an entrepreneurial culture.”
“That means encouraging start-up businesses created by people from a wide range of backgrounds,” she said. “It also means investing in skills, online connectivity and education to address youth unemployment and to get the engine room of the economy firing.”
Nick Hungerford, chief executive of the online investment company Nutmeg, drew a connection between schooling and SMEs, saying he would back a party that “recognises the importance of education towards entrepreneurship.”
“Our future leaders could come from anywhere, and entrepreneurial flair and spirit should be encouraged and nurtured at all levels of education,” Hungerford said, suggesting incentives for universities to promote student-led start-ups.
Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones also stressed the importance of business education in primary and secondary schools.
“Time and time again, research has shown that many school leavers lack the skills required for employment in the modern world,” he said.
“Ultimately, this is putting us at a competitive disadvantage as a nation and, in turn, our economy is at risk.”
Both Alliance Trust chief executive Katherine Garrett-Cox and British Bankers’ Association (BBA) head Anthony Browne pointed to financial literacy as an important component of classroom curriculums.
Garrett-Cox said politicians should increase spending on financial education: “We need to increase knowledge among young people on how to prepare for their financial future and make sure they know what options are available to them.”
Browne agreed, saying, “Children should leave school capable of understanding their own financial affairs.”

NICK HUNGERFORD


CHIEF EXECUTIVE , NUTMEG

“Our future leaders could come from anywhere and entrepreneurial flair and spirit should be encouraged and nurtured at all levels of education.”

JAYNE-ANNE GADHIA


CEO, VIRGIN MONEY

“A generation of young people are priced out of the [housing] market, changes are needed to the planning system and more can be done to provide financial support to buyers.”

MARTIN CLARKE


CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, AA

“Get rid of the anomaly presented by wealthy foreigners (and those who are not so foreign) of using their non-dom status to enjoy a different tax regime from the rest of us.”

ANTHONY BROWNE


CEO, BRITISH BANKERS ASSOCIATION

“We need a stable and predictable tax environment that encourages inward investment and strengthens UK competitiveness. The bank levy has been raised nine times since 2010.”

PETER JONES, CBE


DRAGONS’ DEN STAR AND ENTREPRENEUR

“A great government would stress the value of entrepreneurship and encourage people of all ages to consider it as a feasible career path.”

JOHN (J) HAYNES


GROUP CHAIRMAN, HAYNES PUBLISHING

“It is important that the next government works to maintain the UK’s competitive edge, and low levels of corporation tax are key to this.”

ANN CAIRNS


PRESIDENT INTL MARKETS, MASTERCARD

“The success of London is phenomenal, and being from Newcastle, I also want to see the North and other regions succeed and grow.”

SMRUTI SRIRAM


CEO, SUPREME CREATIONS

“Apprenticeships are excellent, but we also need to ensure that we foster highly specialised skills in engineering, technology, maths, languages and design.”

SAM SMITH


CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FINNCAP

“Ambitious, growing and innovative companies are at the heart of the UK’s economic revival, and we would welcome more government support [to them].”

SIR MARTIN SORRELL


FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, WPP

“Have the courage to make the case that immigration benefits the economy, that membership of the EU is in Britain’s interests, and that a United Kingdom is the right solution.”

JON MOULTON


FOUNDER, BETTER CAPITAL

“Business and the country will do better with regulations matching our needs, not those of a moribund Eurozone.”

CLIVE FENTON


CEO, MCCARTHY & STONE

“I’d support a party that gave retirement housing special status, like affordable housing, because it releases much-needed family housing back into the market.”

KATHERINE GARRETT-COX


CEO, ALLIANCE TRUST

“We all need to save more and borrow less. A simple and effective way to encourage that...is to announce a further increase to the personal savings allowance in ISAs.”

KATHRYN PARSONS


CO-CEO, DECODED

“Let’s look at how we can further empower teachers and pupils with the resources and skills they need to bring subjects alive through technology.”

SIMON COLLINS


CHAIRMAN, KPMG

“There’s a difference between cracking down on irresponsible practices and demonising the engine room of the economy.”

MICHAEL SPENCER


CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ICAP

“Labour’s plans to increase the top rate of tax and introduce further taxes on the better off risk alienating the very people who have driven our economic recovery.”

EDMUND TRUELL


CEO, TUNGSTEN CORP

“I would like to see the building of new homes outside of cities banned, as Switzerland has done, reducing pressure on our countryside.”

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