As Transport for London (TfL) prepares to launch its proposed crackdown on Uber, injecting the criticism of its black-cab competitors into the capital’s most popular minicab-hailing app, it is crucial that UK business protects its reputation.
Consumers have already had their say, with nearly 125,000 supporters signing up to Uber’s petition demanding that TfL reject any restrictive legislation.
But, as they fret over convenience and cost, there is an elephant in the room that must be addressed – what are the wider implications for the UK’s business community?
Britain’s business profile is globally renowned. Our tech sector alone has seen record level investment, with the $1.5bn raised in the first six months of 2015 dwarfing the $1bn raised throughout the entirety of 2014. In addition, the government has successfully positioned itself as a champion of start-ups and innovation, backing the national StartUp Britain campaign, which saw a record 550,000 new businesses founded in 2014.
If the proposals are successful we risk damaging this reputation by becoming associated with stifling innovation.
Instead, should we not be taking inspiration from the chancellor’s visit to China last week? As part of the trip the government-backed International Festival for Business 2016 was launched in Shanghai and showcases Britain as a hub for creativity and innovation, encouraging international trade and investment.
Britain needs to become the home of tomorrow’s economy – to be seen as the economy of the future. Curtailing innovation will not achieve this ambition.
In order to maintain the global business image that our collective efforts have attained, continuing the momentum behind the UK’s economy has never been more important.
Recent ONS figures on manufacturing and exports have raised questions about the strength of Britain’s economic recovery. As a consequence - we must continue to focus on strengthening the foundations of our economy through inward investment, job creation and increased exports.
Restraining Uber actively endangers the UK’s identity as a haven for business, something we cannot risk.