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I had a long career in business, training as a Chartered Accountant, working in finance for a global technology company and then setting up my own small business – I believe it is fundamental to the creation of prosperity

1.Address the cumulative burden businesses face
  • For some time now we have been fighting on Jeremy Corbyn’s territory. It doesn’t work and it isn’t Conservative.
  • Businesses are starting to hurt from all the interventions the government has made in the past few years. For many, the total cost of them is beginning to bite.
  • This approach makes us less competitive as a country and it is not what the Conservative and Unionist Party should be about.
  • Business Rates, the Apprenticeship Levy, GDPR, a plethora of reporting requirements and certain elements of the Good Work Plan are all examples.
  • Whitehall must move away from the Home Office mentality of dealing with problems through bans or prescriptive regulatory requirements.
  • The proposals in the Online Harms White Paper are the next thing coming down the track that will bite our digital economy, and we should think hard about how far we want to go in terms of regulating the Internet.
2.Upskill the UK’s workforce
  • We should move away from an education and labour market system that favours graduates. The emphasis needs to shift to vocational training.
  • The Apprenticeship Levy has good intentions but has so far proved ineffective. It must be addressed as part of a big think about how we ensure the UK’s workforce is fit for the challenges ahead.
  • The Adult Education Budget has been reduced too much and training providers are not able to afford and therefore offer as many programmes as they would like to or should.
  • Student loans are now on the public balance sheet which is a huge dent in the fiscal headroom the UK is on course to create. We need to be realistic about the value some university programmes provide and whether more resources should be directed at those whose parents cannot afford to send them to university.
3.Corporation Tax
  • We should keep our Manifesto promise to reduce Corporation Tax to 17% by 2021 but I don’t regard it as a priority to reduce it further. It’s 19% now which is far below the OECD average and businesses aren’t crying out for it to be reduced.
  • We should think more about the total picture for businesses in the UK and how attractive the country’s entire package for them is.
  • If we keep Corporation Tax at the current level then we might, for example, unlock several billion to spend on getting R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 – the ambitious target we have rightly set ourselves as a nation.
  • We should be doing more to attract innovative companies wanting to pioneer the industries of the future in the UK. That would be a more effective use of taxpayers’ money than trying to outdo the headline Corporation Tax rates of other countries.