Justin Urquhart Stewart says Serviced Offices are Key for SME Growth
Leading economist Justin Urquhart Stewart commented earlier this week at the BCA conference held in Canary Wharf, London, that serviced offices are key in building a firm foundation for the growth of small and medium businesses in the UK.
Another key point raised by Justin was the need for bank lending and tax incentives. He pointed out that SMEs are the second biggest group of employers in the UK, after the public sector, and argued that this group needed government support if it is to develop.
“If these elements can be sorted out, SMEs can grow and prosper but to create seedlings, we need seedbeds,” he said. “Enterprise investment schemes and venture capital trusts are perfectly OK but they have been around for years and we need a fresh approach.
“In relation to capital gains tax, risk takers should get a fair reward for putting capital up, and there should also be a suspension of the administrative burden associated with tax, which is preventing spending in new markets.”
In a typically engaging and thought-provoking speech, Justin likened the current situation of bank lending currently to pumping blood around your body and then hitting a clot – the bank manager – when lending is not available.
He also welcomed the wave of new banks entering the UK market from the Middle East, Brazil and China, as well as those being set up by indigenous companies such as Tesco and Virgin, as he believes that these will create sufficient competition to spur on the more established British banks.
“London still has the most international market in the world but we need greater liquidity if we are to maintain this,” he added.
Justin concluded: “We live in a damaged but recovering world. The UK needs to get lending again to get the blood running and we need to have access to the flexible facilities that the business centre sector provides.”