How to Kick Start the UK Economy in 2018!
The great benefit of a prolonged break over the Christmas and New Year period is the ability to think.
The most important problem facing the country is how to kick start the UK economy in 2018!
As a small business and as an individual you get the feeling that there is a paralysis and lack of strategic thinking.
So whilst reclining on a sun lounger I came up with some very basic areas that some action is needed.
Here are just a few suggestions:-
Brexit – create teams of experts from retired executives
Brexit is dominating the political and business agenda.
There is a vast resource of retired business experts who could be utilised very cost-effectively to work on trade deals and ways of boosting the economy.
Surely there is way this can be co-ordinated and tapped to get a structure of creative thinking teams that would take a lot of work away from civil servants?
It is important to pick the growth areas for the future.
For example – wind energy has been a tremendous success. With the dependency on fossil fuels we should be really developing this market and sell our skills around the world.
Electric vehicles are the future – driverless cars seem to make much less logical sense to me.
We are not far behind the USA and China with online sales – sometimes you get the feeling that this is by accident rather than design.
Let’s find the next Google, Apple, Facebook or Amazon here in the UK and find ways to keep them under UK ownership.
There are many other areas in which we lead the world including pharmaceuticals, engineering, financial services, media and sport – let’s give them some proper support.
Infrastructure – invest in road transportation and commuter train and bus services
I am not a great supporter of Government spending on vanity projects – like aircraft carriers designed to fight traditional conflicts.
So HS2 is great – but only if it is totally funded by private investment.
Infrastrucure investment should concentrate on the road network with is the lifeblood of our economy.
We need better trunk and commuter roads, more park and ride schemes for town and city centres, with incentives for smaller and energy efficient vehicles.
The road fund licence system should be scrapped and extra tax applied to petrol and diesel at the pumps – so payment is based upon usage.
A car ownership tax of £1000 is paid by the owner of every car towards the subsidy cost of public transport.
Regional Development Funds
London dominates our economy.
Every effort should be made to promote London on the global market but to balance investment funds should be managed locally.
The idea behind the Northern Powerhouse project and the West Midlands Regional Authority shows that with the right political will and co-ordination things gt done quicker.
The areas should be expanded to bring in other neighbouring counties and new regions set up.
This would include the South East, the South West, Eastern England and Northern England.
Let’s delegate responsibility for business growth, commuter transport, housing,
The tax system should be overhauled and simplified.
Corporation tax should be reduced in line with the recent proposed reductions in North American rates.
Corporation tax for qualifying small businesses should have a ceiling of 15% for the first 5 years in business.
The qualifying criteria for the special rates would be designed to encourage those businesses that export goods and services, employ staff or make an investment in a new business.
The personal tax system should concentrate on raising personal allowances rather than reducing the tax rate.
Inheritance tax or a property tax should be introduced to avoid money being inherited rather than earned.
The over 65’s, under 20’s, the disabled or those with learning difficulties should pay no tax or NI on any wages but would still need to pay tax on investment income or pension.
The introduction of the minimum wage was a disaster for those less able people who need valuable work experience and yet cannot perform as well as fully capable employees.
What to Tax more?
Somehow many of my schemes will need funding.
Many products should incur more tax.
For example my list includes sugary drinks, alcohol, cigarettes, plastic bags and cups, unnecessary packaging amongst other things.
At the same time bags and cups made out of recycled or bio disposable material should free of charge
VAT is still a fair sales tax – although the list of exemptions is far too complex and should be scrapped.
The Public Sector
There is still great inefficiency in many public sector organisations.
Public sector pensions are a burden the country will not be able to afford in the future.
Kicking this can down the road is not the solution and a cap should be applied on all people earning more than the Prime Minister.
The scandalous salaries for senior management at the expense of front line workers should be immediately addressed.
How many organisations and services do you expect to get something for nothing?
The NHS should have a minimum charge for a GP consultation and any non-critical procedures.
How about a 3-tier scheme similar to dental treatment with £10 minimum cost for visit, £100 and £250 maximum cap on treatment?
A new centralised /regional procurement system for a vast range of pharmaceuticals, goods and service contracts worth more than £50,000.
This should be introduced for the NHS, Education Establishments within public control, the Armed Forces, the Civil Service, Local Authorites and any other public body.
I am in favour of the principle of a property tax. The largest and most expensive properties should bear a larger burden of tax.
The increase in value has far exceeded normal investment returns and the beneficiaries should be able to afford to share their windfalls.
Schemes to encourage downsizing to release the money tied up in property or allow more social housing that would stop the bed blocking currently causing so many problems in the NHS.
Brownfield developments in town centres should be designed to create an abundance of new flats and bedsits for rent.
Homeless Hostels should be a priority for local authorities.
Town Planning has had a bad press but when you travel around the continent you see some great ideas in practice.
These days there is a great opportunity for Pop Up shops – no long term risk or liability for budding entrepreneurs.
It is amazing how craft and food markets are found in the more enterprising towns and vilages.
Business Hubs for office facilities should be similarly made easily available and even business parks with small units for light industry.
Town centres need to re-invent themselves that become more of a social centre.
The vast wealth in our pension funds should be used more productively.
One option is to create a major social housing scheme – with new retirement villages strategically within close proximity to every town and city with public sector links.
Joined up thinking solves a number of problems at the same time.
Well back to printing now and the real world!