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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:11 pm on 24th March 2011.

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Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah Conservative, East Surrey 3:11 pm, 24th March 2011

I take the hon. Gentleman’s point and thank him very much for it. Anybody who has ever tried to start a business knows that banks do not lend to businesses with unpredictable revenues or cash flows. One has to raise equity to support small businesses, and the Budget includes a raft of measures to encourage individuals and institutions to invest in them. Entrepreneurs do not always mind whether it is a bank or an individual who is willing to invest in their business either in the early stages or when they need new plant; what they want is the money to grow their business and to hire new staff. That is how they look at it, and there are many appropriate measures in the Budget to address that.

The Budget also seeks, through the entrepreneurs’ relief and raising the cap on capital gains from £5 million to £10 million, to reward people who mortgage their home, take a low salary and start a business. That will not make the newspaper headlines, but in competitive terms it makes the UK a centre for investment. I have spoken to several people in the venture capital industry who say that they will now be thinking of coming to the UK to look for small business assets to invest in. It also means that an entrepreneur who lives in another country will come to the UK to set up a business such as Skype because he is more likely to attract investment—and yes, they might be from abroad, but they will employ UK residents. That is what is great about this Budget.

Unless we understand that the engine of growth is enterprise—that it is individuals and their efforts who will drive growth—we will be barking up the wrong tree as we discuss this Budget.

In addition, we have measures such as the research and development tax credits; I cannot go through them all in the short time that I have available. It is good that small businesses that invest a lot in R and D can get some of that back in the form of a tax break. I am reminded of a husband and wife who came to my surgery. They had set up a business, having developed equipment to treat club foot, and needed R and D tax credits, but they had to move to Cornwall to do so. I hope that the tax relief that we are providing will not only be regionally based but that people will be able to access it wherever they are in the country.

Last week, Opposition Members came up with their growth plan—the right hon. Member for Morley and Outwood reiterated it today—which would levy the bank tax again and spend it on a series of Government programmes. What I like about this Budget is that it does not seek a Keynesian stimulus—we cannot have that because we have maxed out the credit card—but backs enterprise. It relies on the endeavour, the ingenuity and the efforts of the British people to get our country back on its feet again, in contrast to what the Opposition did, which was to get the country into a mess.