Haines Watts

Embracing an entrepreneurial era

When you’re running a business, you need consistency and transparency from the government so you have a clear framework for making informed, long-term planning decisions.

But rather than making life easier for a type of business which generates most of the wealth in our economy, Westminster is busy making life more complicated.

Take its efforts to ‘simplify’ the tax audit process (by demanding four times as many audits and more detailed information) with the Making Tax Digital programme or its (temporary) plan to raise National Insurance contributions for the self-employed, for instance.

A nation of entrepreneurs

There is no good reason for this reactive stance by our political leaders. When you look at how our economy is performing – Brexit bounce, or not – all the key indicators, such as unemployment, look positive.

I know there are challenges – we’re all living longer, which means the cost of the UK’s health and social care is rising. But government needs to be honest about how it is going to find budget for these problems long-term, rather than try to quietly plug the holes in its leaky bucket with temporary smash and grabs on the income of business owners.

Business owner sacrifices

Now is the time to let our business owners free, so they can make the most of opportunities and help the UK economy to grow, especially as we begin the process of finding new markets outside of the EU.

After all, these are the people who go without the comfort of the kind of benefits that employees take for granted – time off to have children, cover for when they are sick or paid holidays.

The self-employed might make a small saving in NI contributions – but these are people who are taking a risk to grow their business, putting their own assets on the line and having the responsibility of employing others. If anything, they should be given tax breaks to reward their entrepreneurship.

I believe that when you treat these free-spirited people like employees, they will begin to think and act like employees. They will stop taking strategic risks, and growing our economy.

Time for transparency

More so than Europe, we’re an entrepreneurial nation. As we head towards independence, we should be encouraging this mindset so we make the most of opportunities.

It’s time for our political leaders to leave their Westminster bubble and make the hard decisions in a transparent and honest way.

I don’t believe that Brexit is a populist movement. As business owners, we just want more control over our destiny.

So, let’s call it an entrepreneurial movement, and one that should be embraced and encouraged at every opportunity.

What should the government be doing to make things easier for business owners?