Business leaders look ahead to 2014

The UK's leading business organisations have expressed optimism for the year ahead but called on the Government to introduce new measures to ensure that the most is made of the early signs of economic recovery.

Skills and training were a common theme throughout the New Year messages from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The leaders of all three organisations agreed that a better skilled workforce is essential if UK businesses are to turn economic recovery into growth this year.

John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, said:

  • the consistent creation of new, permanent jobs is "really positive news" but warned there were still too many people working at minimum wage without the opportunity to progress
  • more emphasis is needed on training and education to "widen the gateways" into higher-skilled employment
  • the Government should expand the options at high-level education and businesses to do more to encourage employee development
  • the UK needs a well-balanced economic recovery that benefits everyone and a move away from the current debt-based economy.

John Allan, chairman of the FSB:

  • praised the extension of the Small Business Rate Relief but insisted that Government should take further action to reduce business rates
  • urged "radical reform" of the energy market to increase transparency and allow small firms to switch tariffs with ease
  • said increasing skills and lowering youth unemployment must be a top priority and suggested encouraging enterprise education in schools and using national insurance contributions to incentivise small firms to take on staff.

John Longworth, director-general of the BCC:

  • called on the Treasury to further reduce business rates in order to combat the "cost of doing business crisis"
  • said that Britain's open market for overseas investment is beneficial to the economy but called for measures to foster the growth of UK-based businesses and prevent private equity groups from "hoovering them up"
  • urged the Government to focus on developing infrastructure so that foreign businesses are reassured that UK transport will be able to support their needs if they locate here.

Please contact us today to discuss your business and tax planning for the 2014 calendar year.