Wednesday 27 November 2019 12:01 am

Top entrepreneurs call for reforms to boost UK startup scene

More than 250 British entrepreneurs have signed an open letter urging the next government to roll out a string of reforms to help the UK’s startup sector.

The appeal, dubbed the Startup Manifesto, called for a reform of the visa system so that startups can attract the best talent without the barrier of bureaucracy.

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It also urged the next government to streamline tax reliefs and reform pension regulations to attract more funding in early-stage businesses.

“These policies would be good for startups, but more importantly, they would be good for the UK,” the letter stated. “When you support Britain’s entrepreneurs you support the whole economy.”

Signatories included the founders of Transferwise, Lendinvest, Mumsnet and Zopa.

The manifesto, published today by The Entrepreneurs Network and Coadec, branded the UK’s visa system “unfit for purpose”, saying it acted as a barrier to startup growth.

The tech leaders called for the Tier 1 Visa to be re-introduced, as well as a reduction in the salary threshold for the Tier 2 Visa from its current level of £30,000.

On access to finance, the manifesto urged the government to devise a “coherent” regional startup strategy, to allow defined contribution pension schemes to invest in new companies, and to eliminate delays in existing tax relief systems.

It also said upcoming tech regulation should not create new barriers to entry for startups.

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“The party manifestos have policies that will impact business owners, but they don’t go far enough in terms of the reforms needed to boost UK entrepreneurship and ultimately support economic growth,” said Philip Salter, founder of The Entrepreneurs Network.

“This Startup Manifesto, which is backed by the founders of some of Britain’s fastest growing companies, is a blueprint for how the next government can support Britain’s most ambitious entrepreneurs.”