By Carl Hasty, Director of Smart Currency Business

While debate rages around Britain’s membership of the EU and whether certain responsibilities could be repatriated back to the UK Government, plenty could be done straight away to remove barriers to business expansion.

The Government and other commentators have loudly decried red tape from Brussels as restricting UK business growth. Yet among the powers retained by the Government, there are huge discrepancies when compared with other EU countries.

One key example is the reliance on tax rebates and retrospective incentives to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As has been noted in the press and at business events nationwide, such measures — while welcomed — do little to directly stimulate corporate investment. These tax breaks, themselves delayed in their full implementation until 2015, are simply a means of alleviating the overall cost burden on businesses.

In Germany, by contrast, entrepreneurs and budding firms can apply for up to 500,000 euros in public funding to expand their operations. This helps smaller firms with bright prospects overcome the hurdle of funding to achieve their ambitious growth plans. This cash injection aids businesses with the cost of staff hire, machinery acquisition, the purchase of raw materials and logistics needed to fulfil new incoming orders.

Longer term, it makes sense for the UK Government to have greater control of UK business regulation. However, petitions for such change do nothing to alleviate the constraints on growth currently experienced by UK SMEs, and will not deliver a boost to economic growth at a time when it is most needed — now.

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