Speaking at an economic conference in Warrington – organised by the Chartered Accountants’ Regional Enterprise Group – the Duke called for a new and less complex framework of support for entrepreneurs, with the aim of building better businesses in the region.
He said while the government target of creating 30,000 new high-growth businesses was laudable, it was generally accepted that there was no shortage of funds available to business, but a shortage of good quality businesses in which to invest.
‘If we fail to deal with the strategic impact of taxation policy, the luring of high-growth, mobile businesses to other countries that are more focused on growth poses a real threat to our economic position and future employment opportunities,’ he said.
And he criticised existing channels of financial support for having burdensome auditing and reporting requirements, citing a scheme in the Hulme district of Manchester which had eight different payment devices and fifty-eight ‘funding triggers.’
Director of Skills and Enterprise at the government office for the North West, David Duff, said the new Small Business Service would bring a single national focus to business development.
‘Current policy is to use public funds to intervene where there are market shortfalls, or where the government wants to focus on a particular issue,’ he said.
Duff said the seven Small Business Service partnerships in the region were finalising their plans, and now was the time for businessmen and their professional advisers to influence that process.
In an attempt to forge a unified approach between the region’s business leaders, the day was attended by bankers, lawyers, accountants and entrepreneurs. Additionally, the conference was relayed by video link from the Warrington International Business Centre to delegates at five other locations based on the new SBS area in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.
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