Govt high on CBI’s entrepreneurship blame list

“Political decisions” have damaged the UK’s reputation as a haven for entrepreneurs, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) head Richard Lambert said today.

In a speech in London today, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) director general Mr Lambert said: “Partly as a result of global economic conditions, partly as a result of ill-considered political decisions, readings on the UK’s entrepreneurial barometer have dipped sharply over the past 12 months.”

Changes to the taxation system caused a “wave of outrage among member companies,” Mr Lambert said, describing it as a “decision which came out of the blue to whack up the tax rate”.

Mr Lambert warned that the 18 per cent capital gains tax rate may be enough to make entrepreneurs “less likely than before to want to build their businesses over the long haul here in the UK”.

However, the government is making an attempt to rebuild its bridges, Mr Lambert said, and he praised some of the ideas in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment white paper including proposals for improved access to finance for small businesses.

And the entrepreneurial spirit is still alive – with the popularity of The Apprentice showing the British public’s fascination with setting up and running a business, Mr Lambert said.

The government has recently clashed with business leaders on issues of taxation and the economy.

The ‘non-dom’ tax plan – dropped after strenuous opposition from the business community – may have encouraged foreign talent to leave our shores, Mr Lambert said in his speech.

Meanwhile, it was claimed in the Times newspaper today the former head of the CBI, Sir Digby Jones, intended to resign from his post as Trade Minister before the next election – reportedly because he could not actively back Gordon Brown.