Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled a number of measures in his Autumn Statement that will increase the UK’s productivity, from a £400m injection into venture capital funds to billions of pounds of new investment for small businesses.
In addition, there was the promise of 100 per cent business rate relief on new fibre optic infrastructure and £1bn for broadband, while corporation tax will fall to 17 per cent by the end of this Parliament.
The announcements have been welcomed by entrepreneurs, with one saying that the pledge to increase investment in digital infrastructure is important, particularly for ‘one-man-bands’.
As he pointed out, many start-ups begin in the entrepreneur’s home so, in more rural areas, the lack of access to hyper-fast broadband is a barrier to growth, as they cannot keep up with their larger competitors in this highly digitised economy.
On the same subject, another start-up leader said that by investing an extra £2bn per year in research and development into technologies such as robotics and biotechnology, the Government is helping to support the pioneers of new industries that are playing a major part in Britain’s long-term global competitiveness. Meanwhile, regarding the £400m into venture capital funds, the extra cash has been warmly welcomed, particularly as a means of allaying the fears of new businesses.
As one entrepreneur put it, keeping start-ups in the UK is crucial to the economy and to ensure our status as the European centre for all young, growing industries in this post-Brexit era.
The investment of £1.1bn in the UK’s transport infrastructure was also welcomed, with one commentator arguing that although we live in a very digital world, direct physical links between businesses, consumers and investors remain very important.