Mersey business leader calls for ‘entrepreneurs Budget’

Chair of the Institute of Directors in Liverpool, David Wafer, is backing the organisation’s call for specific support for entrepreneurs in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s March Budget. Tony McDonough reports

David Wafer
McIver Scott Recruitment managing director and IoD Liverpool chair, David Wafer


Chancellor Rishi Sunak must give entrepreneurs in Liverpool city region help to “supercharge” our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, a local business leader has said.

David Wafer is chair of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Liverpool and, as the managing director award-winning recruitment company McIver Scott, is a successful entrepreneur in his own right.

He is echoing the call by the IoD nationally for Mr Sunak to “put entrepreneurs at the heart of the recovery” when he delivers his Budget to MPs in the the House of Commons on Wednesday, March 3.

Data from insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor, published in January, revealed a 28% surge in Liverpool city region firms in ‘significant distress’ at the end of 2020. Much of this is due to the impact of COVID-19 with multiple lockdowns making life difficult for companies across all sectors.

And it is likely worse data is to come when Government COVID support such as furlough and grants are withdrawn. The IoD is calling for a stimulus package to “unleash investment in start-ups and scale-ups through targeted reliefs”.

In the year of COP26 the IoD is also urging help for SMEs to play their part by setting up a new Digital & Green Recovery Credit, to accelerate their investment in technology and carbon reduction. And it calls on the Government to provide a grant package to the millions of owner-directors who have been without significant financial support for almost a year.

Mr Wafer told LBN: “We have to remember prior to the pandemic the Liverpool city region was the fastest growing region in England and it will be entrepreneurs that can supercharge the recovery.

“It is crucial that government helps to support that recovery but we can also by supporting businesses within the region. I am optimistic that we will continue to weather the storm but I urge the government to provide the breeze to our sails in the upcoming Budget.”

The IoD is also calling on the Treasury to help entrepreneurs drive the recovery by not raising Corporation and Capital Gains taxes, as some reports suggest. It is pressing the Government to issue Brexit adjustment vouchers for SMEs and significantly increase DIT’s resource to help businesses make the most of trade agreements, alongside reversing the decision to scrap duty-free  shopping for visitors to the UK.

Rishi Sunak
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver his Budget on March 3


It also urges the Government to put ‘levelling up’ into action, by accelerating the roll-out of faster broadband, investing in R&D, and incentivising retraining.

Click here to read the full IoD submission 
Jonathan Geldart, director general at the IoD, said: “Entrepreneurs need to be at the front and centre of the Government’s recovery plans. Businesses will be creating the jobs and driving the innovation that the economy needs to rebuild—and this Budget must support them.

“With battered balance sheets and ongoing restrictions, it is paramount the existing package of grants, loans, and reliefs are extended. A cliff-edge in support would be disastrous for business. Also, it is high time the millions who have not qualified for significant income support, like owner directors, are given some reprieve.

“Now is also not the time to be experimenting with higher taxes. Tax hikes right now risk choking off the economic recovery before it has even got started.

“Instead, the Budget should put a shot in the arm of entrepreneurs by providing reliefs to drive-up investment in enterprising businesses and encouraging small firms to invest in technology, retraining, and green growth.”

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