eBay boss Hattrell: Rates are crushing innovative spirit of small businesses

Rob Hattrell

All eyes this week will be on Rishi Sunak as he steps up to present his first Budget. The timing could hardly be worse for the government as they face the twin challenge of containing coronavirus while keeping the economy moving. I suspect there will be some late nights in Downing Street this week.

But behind the headlines lies another problem – one that has been brewing across the UK for years. Britain has an amazing history of enterprise and a bedrock of small and medium-sized businesses – but more recently, we’ve been letting them down.

This is a complex problem and it’s not simply the government’s job to fix it. The starting point is a tax system that rewards small businesses. We have to send the right signals to small businesses trying to grow and invest for the future and we need to unleash the potential of Britain’s entrepreneurs.

For too long, the debate about tax has focused on a false choice. We’ve been so preoccupied with the debate between offline and online retail that we’ve missed the real challenge. Moreover, when people talk about the UK economy, we tend to focus on big business at the expense of small business and entrepreneurs.


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