King of the Virgin empire, tycoon Richard Branson, is urging the government to further promote the country’s economic growth by making it much easier to start a small business in the UK. He said that the government should be considering reducing its business rates as well as easing the current regulations that are hampering both growth and recovery.
Sir Richard also said, in an interview with the Observer, that the British government should be encouraging banks to lend to businesses, and should also think about introducing a national insurance hiatus when hiring staff through the first two years. His criticism of the current government strategy was backed by another two leading businessmen; Luke Johnson and Sir Martin Sorrell.
Sir Richard said that in order to foster growth he firmly believed that we had to fully get behind the small and medium sized enterprises that are constantly being lauded as the engines to power a healthy economy. He added that they needed both financing and investment from the big banks, and that although the politicians talk about encouraging lending we now need the actions to back that up.
A self made millionaire who started Virgin music as a student, Sir Richard has long been an advocate for small businesses, and his comments are both listened to and respected. He went on to say that we should be doing all we can to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs and be focussing on giving them the basic money management and business skills they need as part of the school curriculum.
Back in February 2010, Sir Richard endorsed the Tories in their calling for public spending cuts saying that the huge UK debt was a major threat to the economy. George Osborne, then the shadow chancellor, said at the time that the support of Sir Richard was very welcome. Their failing to follow through on so many promises after their election has now caused Sir Richard to speak out again, and let’s hope they listen this time.