Written by Adrian Hawkins, Co-Founder and Chairman biz4Biz, Chairman Weldability Sif, Director and Trustee of the Weldability Sif Foundation, Herts LEP Main Board Director, Chairman of the North Herts Studio Schools Trust and Director of the North Herts College.
“No taxation without representation” is a slogan originating during the 1750s and 1760s that summarized a primary grievance of the British colonists in the Thirteen Colonies, which was one of the major causes of the American Revolution. Whilst I am not in any way proposing such a revolution, what I am about to suggest is somewhat revolutionary.
The business community is a major source of revenue derived from taxation. The vast majority of employer and employee NHI contributions and workers paying personal tax (PAYE) are employees of private enterprise. Companies themselves manage the distribution and collection of the lion’s share of these along with VAT and many also pay Corporation taxes, Environmental taxes, Insurance taxes and local rates. 55% of all personal taxation is raised from only 15% of taxpayers many of these are business leaders.
Yet today, the business community remains the only under represented group in Government. Why is this?
I realise as history demonstrates that landowners and industrialists no longer control Government much in the way they did back in the 18th & 19th centuries, which is a good thing, but has the process of removing such control, resulted in any better control of the taxation process and the consequent management and redistribution of our taxes?
£330 Bn has been spent on quantitative easing which as we are all fully aware is the cost of bailing out the Bankers. The Country is now further in debt today than we were at the start of the banking crisis. The UK in particular has made large strides towards higher levels of employment in recent times, much of which has been created by the private sector in particular. Yet there are still many businesses unable to secure capital investment and the consequent cash flow support from these same Banking organisations.
It is therefore particularly galling to hear politicians on both sides of the House on so many occasions point at the Business community as if they are responsible for all the problems in society and demonise our sector when in fact, without the genuine efforts of the good people in the business sector, the UK economy would suffer dramatically and the government in particular may well be irrelevant.
Whilst it is clear private enterprises will always find a solution, it would be immensely useful to have the support of say a Minister for Manufacturing, tackling the methods within Government to secure the necessary assistance required by this sector of the business community. We should also consider providing financial support for the business sector targeted via the LEP’s in the form of business growth funds. Hopefully the Governments positioning of the 39 LEP’s across the UK is a segue into providing Businesses the voice in society they so much deserve and help in bringing businesses closer to the community that they serve.