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Labour's to-do list

The UK’s new Labour government will have a much to do to help the country’s business community thrive. The nation’s business groups were active in the run up to the election, producing their own manifestos and lobbying hard to improve the conditions under which their members will operate.

Here, we take a look at the proposals put forward by business groups for the incoming government to consider.

Partner with business

First and foremost, the Labour government will need to partner with business to fire up the UK economy, says the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The CBI warns of ‘momentous challenges’ and says ‘grown-up conversations’ are needed on a range of issues including fostering investment, improving the labour market and transitioning to net zero.

Brand Britain

Revitalising 'Brand Britain' should be a priority for the new government, adds the CBI.

In its Business Manifesto, the business group has mapped out the steps it says are needed to redefine the UK's growth trajectory.

The CBI’s recommendations include: 

  • Launch a cutting-edge trade and investment strategy – this would increase UK exports, secure imports, and grow investment says the CBI.
  • Deliver a Net Zero Investment Plan – secure the UK’s standing as world-leader on green growth, fostering investment opportunities so firms want to invest and grow in the UK. The CBI says this can create jobs, provide greater energy security and efficiency, lower energy costs, increase tax receipts, fund public services and help avert a climate emergency.
  • Unlock the power of UK regions – aligning UK industrial and trade strategy with the transformative role of UK mayors.

Green innovation

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has set out a five-point plan for the Labour government. It includes an industrial strategy 'with green innovation at its heart'.

The BCC also wants to see: 

  • Better skills planning, bringing businesses and training providers together. 
  • Business rates reform to encourage growth and investment. 
  • Improved relations with the European Union to cut the costs for business. 
  • A government appointed AI champion for SMEs to spearhead uptake of new technology. 

Drivers of economic growth

The plan forms part of the BCC's ‘Future of the Economy’ manifesto, which focuses on the key economic challenges facing the UK.

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, says: ‘The companies we represent are the drivers of economic growth and the employers of millions of people. They need to know that politicians have got their back. Our five-point-plan is clear.

'As companies play their part in the UK's net-zero journey, we desperately need an industrial strategy with green innovation at its heart.

'Firms are constantly telling us they can't get the skills they need. We need better strategic planning on skills that helps business and training providers work together.'

Comprehensive package

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said its General Election manifesto provides a ‘comprehensive package of recommendations to create the conditions for growth now and in the future’.

It includes a vision for high streets and town centres; ways to better promote jobs and skills; and a plan to remove barriers holding back more inclusive entrepreneurship.

According to the FSB, many of these measures it proposes do not involve additional spending. However, it says there are a host of policy areas where legislative action is required to improve the operating environment for small businesses.

The FSB says a Small Business Act should include measures to:

  • Drive late payment out of the economy.
  • Improve standards at HMRC.
  • Ensure utilities and energy companies treat small business fairly.
  • Protection for small business and the self-employed from fraud, cybercrime and theft.
  • Increase the involvement of small business in taxpayer-funded projects through statutory procurement targets.

Rebuilding trust

The Labour government must take a direct hand in rebuilding trust between HMRC and the self-employed, according to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE)’s manifesto.

Under its proposals, a Cabinet minister would be charged with directly overseeing the tax office. Taxpayers would also be offered more recourse when the department has acted carelessly or unfairly.

The manifesto also calls for the prevention of 'obscenely' long payment terms and the scrapping of the off-payroll rules.

IPSE also wants to see an end to shortfalls in support for self-employed parents and better incentives for people to adopt side hustles.

Ready to help

Whatever the course the Labour government plots for the economy and business landscape we will be on hand to help. If you need advice on any related matter, please contact us.

CPAA Xero Gold Partner