Call for tax incentives to encourage investors to support SMEs

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TAX incentives for investors who support local businesses could help to boost regional economies and create growth, according to one market commentator.

Justin Urquhart Stewart called for a better system to encourage private investors to support businesses in their region after a visit to Sheffield.

He praised the city’s manufacturing strength and entrepreneurial spirit, particularly praising the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) for making it a world-class centre for advanced machining and materials in high-value sectors such as aero- space.

“It is a partnership between industry and academia, which has become a model for research centres worldwide,” he said.

“This sits virtually on the site of the old Rotherham Orgreave coking plant, which those of us of a certain age will recall was the site of some of the worst confrontations of the miners’ strike back in 1984 – ‘the Battle of Orgrea- ve’.

“Now, though, there is no sign of failed workings or any industrial detritus.

“What we see today is not just new development buildings, but small business incubators and dynamic young entrepreneurial enterprises coming up with remarkable ideas.”

Mr Urquhart Stewart, a co-founder of Seven Investment Management, also praised Sheffield firms Swann Morton and Aesseal for their success, but said the growth of such businesses should be better tracked to provide more useful information than traditional measures, such as GDP.

He also called for a new approach to overcome the problems of financing, encouraging people to support their local business- es.

Although the Government’s business bank was a good idea, Mr Urquhart Stewart said it was too late.

Instead, he proposed regional or city-focused ISAs, such as the Sheffield ISA, which could take some of the attributes of the Seed EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) to give an incentive to people investing in their area.