Darling’s pre-budget should support small business

December 3, 2009

Joe White -Joe White is chief operating officer at Gandi, an Internet domain name registration firm. He will participate in a Reuters pre-budget live blog on Dec. 9, at 12 p.m. British time. The opinions expressed are his own.-

The pre-budget speech will primarily be about two things: reducing the size of the national deficit, and drawing the political battle lines around the economy for the general election.

In the wake of the Dubai crisis, the level of national debt in the UK has risen right back to the top of the agenda, both for business and the public at large, and as a result, the mechanisms Darling chooses to try and manage the UK’s debt will be both economic levers and a political statement of intent.

As an entrepreneur for a company which sells, primarily, technology services for businesses, I’d like to see a series of measures which help to minimise running costs for small businesses and encourage entrepreneurs to build companies in the UK.

This can include incentives around National Insurance, tax breaks on research and development activity, or limitations around any increase in capital gains tax, particularly for entrepreneurs.

Since the banking crises really took hold last year, we’ve swung from the light touch free-market capitalist approach of the early New Labour years to a more regulated approach to limit unnecessary financial risk-taking. While this is understandable, it’s important to recognise that entrepreneurs and small businesses are essential for creating jobs and wealth.

All measures proposed by Darling should be carefully constructed so that they don’t smother innovation. Otherwise, entrepreneurs may choose to build their businesses elsewhere, or won’t have the incentive to build them as quickly here.

Throughout the speech, I’ll be commenting with these points in mind and it would be great to hear feedback from other small businesses on whether you agree about the effectiveness of some of the measures for supporting small businesses.

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