BUSINESS

The Government believes that business is the driver of economic growth and innovation, and that we need to take urgent action to boost enterprise, support green growth and build a new and more responsible economic model.

We want to create a fairer and more balanced economy, where we are not so dependent on a narrow range of economic sectors, and where new businesses and economic opportunities are more evenly shared between regions and industries.

The bigger picture

• The private sector has created over 1 million additional jobs since the 2010 general election.

• We are creating the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20.

• We have saved businesses more than £3 billion by scrapping red tape.

Supporting small businesses

Action to date

• We have doubled small business rate relief, meaning 330,000 small businesses will not have to pay any business rates until April 2013.

• We have introduced a National Insurance holiday for new businesses outside London and the South East.

• In July 2012, we introduced the Bank of England backed Funding for Lending scheme to boost lending to households and businesses.

• We have changed the tax system to encourage small and medium sized business to invest in the innovative new technologies that will give our economy a cutting edge.

Planned actions

• We are committed to maintaining our deficit reduction plan. The Government’s hard-won fiscal credibility is keeping interest rates at record low levels, helping families and small businesses.

• We will implement the new business bank, supported by £1 billion of Government funds, which will bring together in one place Government finance support for small and mid-sized businesses, providing access to long-term help.

Supporting growth and business success in all parts of the country

Action to date

• The Regional Growth Fund has already allocated £1.4 billion to 169 projects supporting an estimated 325,000 jobs. Approximately £6 of private sector funding is leveraged for every £1 of public money.

• We have created 24 new Enterprise Zones which benefit from: up to 100 per cent business rate discount, simplified planning regulations, new superfast broadband, allowing business rates growth to be retained by the local authority and reinvested in the local area, and the potential to use enhanced capital allowances for zones with a strong focus on manufacturing.

• We have created the £500 million Growing Places Fund, with 38 local enterprise partnerships able to apply for funding and then take decisions about what infrastructure projects to prioritise locally.

Planned actions

• We will put local businesses and organisations in the driving seat by investing an additional £270 million in the Growing Places Fund.

Stopping businesses from being tied up in red tape

Action to date

• In 2011, we introduced the Red Tape Challenge so employers and employees could help us scrap regulations which don’t work. So far we have saved businesses over £3 billion in reduced bureaucracy.

• In April 2012, we doubled the qualification period for unfair dismissal tribunals to two years to make it easier for employers to take on new staff.

• Britain plummeted from 4th to 89th in the World Economic Forum's 'burden of government regulation' ranking under the Labour government; this regulatory burden is estimated to have cost 10-12% GDP annually. Due to the actions of the Conservatives in Government, we’ve already regained 17 places in the ranking.

Planned actions

• We will implement a cap on the fees lawyers can earn from small value personal injury claims to deter speculative health and safety claims which are not legitimate.

• We will push ahead with the Red Tape Challenge, further reducing burdensome regulations and saving small businesses money to invest in jobs and growth.

Creating the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20

Action to date

• In the 2011 Budget we reduced corporation tax by 2 per cent to 26 per cent.

• The following year we reduced it by a further 2 per cent to 24 per cent.

• These reductions will mean the UK will have the lowest corporation tax in the G7 and the fourth lowest in the G20 making it very competitive for businesses to invest. The Office for Budget Responsibility estimate this will increase business investment in the UK by £3.4 billion between now and 2016.

Planned actions

• We will reduce corporation tax to 22 per cent by 2014-15.

Rolling out superfast broadband across the country

Action to date

• We are cutting the red tape and unnecessary broadband bureaucracy that is holding back our recovery.

• We are investing £530 million to achieve 100 per cent coverage of 2mbps broadband and 90 per cent coverage of superfast broadband in the UK by 2015.

Planned actions

• We will invest £150 million in creating ‘super connected’ cities.

• Because of this £680 million investment, the UK will have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

• This includes £530 million to encourage the roll out of high speed broadband in rural communities.

Ensuring young people have the skills they need for the jobs market

Action to date

• We have invested in apprenticeships. In our first year in power, the number of people starting an apprenticeship increased from 279,700 to 457,200 – a rise of 177,000, or 63 per cent.

• We have established a £25 million Higher Apprenticeships Fund, to support up to 10,000 degree-level apprenticeships in areas such as aerospace and renewable energy technologies.

• We have created the £1 billion Youth Contract to help young unemployed people get a job, including apprenticeships and work experience programmes.

• We have reformed higher education so that the funding is more sustainable and so that applicants know far more about the employability of different courses.

• We have invested £100 million in the UK Research Partnerships Investment Fund, which matches our great universities with our top companies and leverages in private income on a 2:1 basis for new world-class research facilities.

Planned actions

• The Government will continue to offer employers with 50 employees or fewer up to £1,500 for taking on an apprentice aged between 16 and 24. This will support up to 40,000 new apprenticeships in 2012-13.

• We will seek to fund vocational skills training directly through employers.

• We will examine the Wilson review to move university-business links to the next level.

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