While the Chancellor was delivery his Budget Statement recently, I was sitting in the Great British Private Investment Summit, with my attention caught between Budget tweets and the pearls of wisdom of the speakers. While the tweets were interesting, I learned much more from the speakers:-
- Here in the UK we have by far and away the most generous tax incentives available in any mainstream jurisdiction to provide investment and entrepreneurship, with EIS, SEIS, ER, EMI, BPR and Patent Box. While the Chancellor tinkered round the edges, he was smart enough not to try and mend something which is manifestly not broken;
- About 80,000 people in the UK have an income tax liability in excess of £100K. With EIS investment only running at somewhere in the region of £1 Billion / £1.5 Billion a year, we are clearly only scratching at the surface of the potential market for EIS investment;
- The Chancellor is absolutely right to criminalise dodgy tax schemes and those who provide them but the tax planning and tax avoidance industry urgently needs to get itself up to speed on the bona fide tax incentives which are available to encourage investment and provide wider benefits through increasing investment;
- By moving quickly and taking a pro-active approach to an appropriate level of “light touch” regulation, the FCA has helped to create a new crowdfunding industry in the UK which can genuinely claim to be world leading in its scope, scale and innovation.