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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Ten Priorities for the Next Government

Ten Priorities for the Next Government
26 March 2024

The Business Magazine and James Cowper Kreston have unveiled a comprehensive ten-point business manifesto that makes clear what business leaders in the South of England want from the next government. 

This manifesto addresses various aspects of the current business environment in the UK, ranging from the imperative to foster opportunities for SMEs to the requirement to enhance the appeal of trade employment as a career path. 

Formulated through extensive research, the agenda reflects insights gathered from discussions with business leaders from 40 companies across the Thames Valley and Solent regions. Additionally, input from 100 senior decision-makers in the region was collected through an online survey. 

These findings resonate as a unified call for expansion, investment, and sustainability nationwide. With an election looming, now is the right time to have this materialisation of the concerns, opinions and opportunities that the next government might consider 

So what are the ten priorities for the next government to focus on? The points are explained in detail within the full manifesto, but here’s a brief overview of what we found: 

Having a clear and concise industrial strategy 

The south’s business leaders are calling for a widely communicated and coherent industrial strategy to ensure that businesses can help to focus government priorities. This would be driven by a cross-party committee that businesses can have direct input to and that transcends changes in government. 

Creating a centralised planning department 

Those we surveyed said that they wanted the current system to be removed from local control in cases where schemes will have significant economic impact. Instead, they believe there is a need for a centralised department to provide skilled expertise and uniformity to planning decisions. 

Bringing simplification and consistency to the tax system 

Beyond major calls for reforming R&D tax credits and rewarding companies for diversifying their activities, the business leaders we spoke to want the new government to commit to a period of stability at the start of the new term. 

Creating more government procurement opportunities for SMEs 

Streamlining the government procurement process is vital for SMEs with limited resources compared to larger corporations. Those we spoke to had some insightful ideas as to how the next government could benefit SMEs through methods such as offering them exclusive opportunities within the tender process. 

Prioritising digital connectivity 

One thing that everyone is crying out for is consistent access to high-speed internet and reliable mobile signal. This could be brought along by the creation of an oversight body that incentivises telecommunications companies to provide adequate service. 

Creating a joined-up transport network 

The manifesto details suggestions surrounding the creation of an overarching public body to oversee strategy for creating a joined-up transport network across the country. Businesses would like to work closely with it to find out how they can identify and ease prevalent travel pressure points. 

Expanding tax incentives to encourage investment in innovation 

The country’s senior business leaders feel there is a desire to expand the current capital expenditure refund scheme to uniformly encourage technological innovation and diversification. The next government should provide greater tax incentives for businesses investing in new technologies. 

Incentivising employment to increase the labour market 

The next government should look to create better tax incentives for employing apprentices and those currently not in the labour market. Current thresholds should be examined for areas experiencing skills shortages and communication should be improved regarding current reliefs. 

Making the trade route an attractive option 

With non-university routes becoming ever more common, business leaders are calling for the next government to promote the value of the trade route through concerted marketing campaigns and greater skills-based teaching in education. This would include all levels of the education system working more closely with businesses. 

Creating a consistent sustainable strategy 

Businesses want to rally behind a consistent sustainable strategy, but for this to happen, one needs to be clearly spelled out by the next government. This initiative would also be driven to excel by the introduction of incentives and targets for active companies. 

These valuable insights from some of the south’s leading businesspeople should not be ignored by the next government – you can find out more about our discussions with the research participants by reading the whole ‘Setting the Agenda’ publication on our website. 

We will follow up our research throughout the year, through our bi-monthly magazine and on our website. 

Still haven’t checked out the whole manifesto? 

You can find the full edition on our website here.


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