By Claire West

Former conservative minister Liam Fox said earlier this week in an interview in the Times newspaper that he favoured cutting capital gains tax to boost the UK economy. Fox is quoted as wanting the government to suspend capital gains tax for three years, and thereafter to re-introduce it at a lower rate.

Serial UK tech entrepreneur Dan Wagner, Chairman and CEO of mPowa, who has built four globally leading tech enterprises the first of which sold to Thomson Reuters for half a billion dollars, and who has recently launched another tech startup, has for some time advocated lowering or suspending capital gains tax, specifically on investments in startup businesses.

Dan Wagner said: “Suspending capital gains tax for those investing in startup companies would instantly unlock billions of potential investment from abroad and help it flow to Britain, boosting the UK economy, helping businesses grow and creating hundreds if not thousands of new jobs.”

Dan asserts that he is not advocating the abolition of capital gains tax. “This needs to be a focused and targeted policy to help businesses grow at the crucial and vulnerable stage when they are most in need of backing and support, and yet have least chance of securing it. As an entrepreneur myself with more than twenty-five years of experience in building businesses I know that, unlike in some other business environments such as the US, it is very hard indeed for businesses to find this type of backing in the UK.”

Dan continued: “Such a measure makes sense applied to those investing in real live businesses which will produce income and create jobs. It should not be used to exempt gains made from investing in assets only. We do still have a wonderful entrepreneurial spirit in the UK and there are many good business ideas and young entrepreneurs who do not get the funding or support they need. This is a measure that would really help to achieve that. There are also many other ways in which the government could help startup businesses become the engine which will drive tomorrow’s economy and help us all progress in the recession.”

Commenting on some other aspects of Liam Fox’s interview with the Times, Dan continues: “This proposal would be a win-win. It would unlock money, both in the UK and even more importantly from abroad, which would not otherwise be applied and invested in this way. It has nothing to do with cuts to welfare benefits, and I see no reason for these, or for linking these to this eminently sensible business-led proposal.”