Lord Flight was Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2001-2004 and led for the Opposition on the FSMA. He is now chairman of Flight & Partners Recovery Fund.
One of the biggest achievements of the Thatcher Government was the encouragement of and revival of entrepreneurship, and delivering the venture capital finance to support it – for which Lord Young should take much of the credit. This Government has similarly sought to encourage entrepreneurship. The improvements to the EIS Scheme in terms of enlarging the size of companies which qualify has been particularly helpful, essentially as it supports new businesses which have survived, need more resources to grow and are more likely to succeed.
The Government has sensibly supported Capital Gains Tax Entrepreneurs’ Relief and it is to be hoped that measures will not be introduced to reduce this. The Government has also started to address the all important area of public sector business contracts for smaller companies where, historically, both internal guidelines and the complexities of EU tendering requirements have shut out small businesses. This is particularly important with regard to the NHS, where much innovation is coming through from small businesses. Albeit in part the result of a difficult economic climate and shortage of jobs for young people, it is extremely heartening to see a large increase in the number of young people considering being entrepreneurs.