Enterprise is at the centre of strengthening our economy

  • The Rt Hon George Osborne MP

    “The entrepreneurs in this report illustrate our nation’s capacity to produce world-class innovation”

Commentary by The Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer

This year’s list of 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain is truly remarkable. The businesses and entrepreneurs in the report are a fantastic illustration of the UK’s pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit and our nation’s capacity to produce world-class innovation.

It is my pleasure to congratulate all the companies featured and London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) for all it does to support dynamic UK businesses up and down the country, as they grow and seek to achieve scale.

UK high-growth businesses are leading the charge in rebuilding our economy. These companies are the backbone of the British economy. They create high-quality, well paid jobs, innovate and drive economic growth. This government fully understands the need to support ambitious entrepreneurs and ensure they can access the finance they need to grow.

This report shows the ongoing pace and scale of growth across the UK. Average annual revenue growth from 2011 to 2015 for companies outside of London and the South East is 43% and growth in sectors such as engineering and construction and food and beverage demonstrate that this government’s long-term economic plan is working across the length and breadth of the UK.

My priority has always been delivering security for working people. By taking difficult decisions to reduce the deficit, together with the hard work of the British people and UK businesses up and down the country, we are creating jobs and building a stronger economy. Few would have imagined that there would be a record 5.4 million private sector businesses at the start of 2015 – an increase of over 900,000 since the beginning of 2010. Nor would they predict that we would have the highest rate of employment on record.

British enterprise is at the front and centre of strengthening our economy. We have held the steadfast belief that – alongside deficit reduction – nurturing entrepreneurs, creating jobs, supporting hard-working families and keeping taxes low would get the UK economy back on track.

Our measures to increase access to finance for business and encourage more investment have had a transformative effect on our economy. Take the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) which raises billions of pounds in capital for small businesses to grow and invest. We made shares on AIM exempt from stamp duty and allowed them to be included in ISAs for the first time. This had an effect of channelling another £5.3bn into high-growth companies.

We were resolute that the UK needed a globally competitive economy if businesses were to thrive. I cut corporation tax to historic levels in the last Parliament, making it the joint lowest level in the G20, and have announced that we will go further, cutting it to 19% in April 2017 and then again to 18% in 2020.

We have committed £13bn of investment into the Northern Powerhouse to improve infrastructure and transport – key for entrepreneurs to do business in this region. The West Midlands also received a revolutionary devolution deal last year to make the Midlands Britain’s engine for growth. Our long-term economic plan is set to help businesses by adding as much as £34bn to the Midlands by 2030 and creating 300,000 extra jobs.

This is only the start of our work to transform our economy and support businesses at every stage of their growth. The past five years have been about delivering security for working people and creating the environment for small businesses to grow and create jobs. Over the next five years we will work through our long-term economic plan to secure our economic future. We look forward to continuing to support small and scale-up businesses and working with LSEG to make Britain the world’s most prosperous and productive economy.