1 Making the UK the best place to invest
2 2 Table of contents Our vision for the UK 3 Executive summary 4 Nine key facts why government must take action 5 The investment challenge 6 Introduction: investment and growth 7 The challenge to the UK 8 Building on strengths 9 Tangibles and intangibles: why investment is important 11 The UK in a global economy 12 What businesses look for 15 What CEOs say: findings from the CBI survey 16 CEOs ingredients for success 18 Policy proposals: taxation 20 Business tax 21 Case example: encouraging low-carbon investment 21 Innovation and the R&D tax credit 22 Personal tax 23 Case example: the financial services sector 24 Policy proposals: priming new markets 25 Stimulating new market activity 26 Transition to a low-carbon economy 27 Broadband infrastructure 28 Case example: the technology sector 29 Clinical trials 30 Policy proposals: additional ingredients for business success 31 Infrastructure resilience 32 Case example: process industries 32 Skills 33 Case example: the creative industries 33 Case example: JCB Academy 34 Enterprise finance 35 Regulation 36 Planning 37 Case example: the construction industry 37 The big picture: vision & framework 38 Creating a vision 39 A map for increasing business investment 40 Investment growth 41 Conclusion and recommendations 43 Conclusion 44 Recommendations 45 End notes 46
3 3 Our vision for the UK: Over the next 20 years, the UK will become the primary western location for business investment. Government will establish the framework to create long-lasting business confidence and will work with businesses to ensure this framework remains effective delivering core capability needs, creating certainty, keeping business costs down and developing new markets from which the UK can build its global presence. Underpinning this, the UK will have the: Most competitive tax regime in the OECD Best environment for business innovation in the OECD Global leadership in low-carbon technologies and services Best talent pipeline, linking business needs into the education system Physical infrastructure aligned with the needs of a global business economy Reputation as a digital tiger with the best broadband infrastructure in Europe
4 4 UK as a place to invest final report Executive summary Business investment is critical for economic growth. This is especially true for the UK as public and consumer spending are constrained in the wake of the recession. Domestic investment is already returning, in particular in manufacturing, and the UK must capitalise on this by creating an environment that provides real confidence for investment decision makers. The UK already attracts significant business investment from overseas, but it will need to be at the top of its game if this is to continue. International competition for mobile capital and talent is fierce. Leading economies are positioning themselves for future growth by courting investment from the best businesses and the UK needs to remain competitive. We already have many strengths and natural advantages to build on, but there are a number of blockers that must be removed. There are also opportunities to create a step change in investment intentions to address key questions around market, certainty, capability and cost that dominate business thinking when investments are being planned. The UK should create and deliver a vision for investment and growth that will set the direction for the future and ensure decisions for investment are made in favour of the UK. To stimulate business investment in the UK, the government should: Maintain and build on existing strengths The UK has some excellent advantages in terms of its language, culture and quality of life that have helped to attract business investment from across the world: Our highly flexible labour markets provide a real comparative advantage over European competitors and this must be maintained, quite simply because it is much more likely that businesses will invest and create jobs where markets are flexible than where they are rigid. We have a well-developed innovation ecosystem that, with the right support, can underpin and attract additional investment in innovation. At the heart of this is a world-class university base that is well positioned to engage with business in collaborative R&D and in developing the future skill needs for the economy. We also have natural advantages (eg in tidal and wind resources) that we should build on to create the most out of global shifts towards low-carbon. Create an overall vision for the UK The vision comprises three core components, which must work together to have maximum impact: An ambition for the UK economy that reflects the country s industrial capability and sets out the direction of travel towards that goal. This needs to be developed and implemented in collaboration with business, setting out a 20-year strategy. It must be specific enough to create certainty for investors, but also flexible enough to allow for innovation. The vision should reflect the UK s place in the global economy. It should also articulate the UK s ambitions around major opportunities for growth, identifying the capabilities that will be required and how they can be developed to ensure the UK is well positioned. An effective overarching framework for business to operate in. This starts with fiscal stability and credibility and effective leadership to join up strategies across government. Cross-party support is needed to provide certainty and predictability beyond the parliamentary life cycle so businesses can invest for the long-term. More immediately, the government must put greater emphasis on getting the business mood music right: making an effort to demonstrate that the UK is not just open for business, but seriously wants business activity to locate and grow here. A core framework of business-relevant policy to address specific micro-economic issues around business investment. These policies, processes and incentives must align with the overall vision to ensure successful implementation. For business investment decision makers there are currently issues under eight core themes that need to be addressed: new market activity, public procurement, business tax, enterprise finance, personal tax, skills, infrastructure resilience and planning & regulation.
5 5 UK as a place to invest final report Nine key facts that highlight why the government must take action on investment: Firms tell us the 50p tax will discourage them from investing in the UK The UK is ranked 89th out of 139 for having the biggest regulatory burden on business, on a par with Nigeria The UK lags behind France, Germany and Japan in maths rankings The UK needs 450bn of low-carbon investment by 2025 Just 6% of high growth firms provided half of jobs growth between , and we should be doing more to harness the potential of these companies The UK has the largest creative industries sector as share of GDP and we aren t doing enough to exploit this advantage If expressed as a sector, the internet would now outstrip construction, education and transport as a share of GDP and has the potential to contribute even more The global low-carbon market will be worth $2trn by 2020 The UK is home to four of the top ten ranked universities in the world and we should capitalise on this
6 6 The investment challenge
7 7 Introduction: investment & growth As the UK emerges from recession and into a period of economic recovery, there is a growing debate about how the economy can be re-energised and rebalanced, creating renewed and sustained growth. For some, this entails a targeted revival of manufacturing. However, the real challenge, within the context of a highly globalised economy, is how to generate sustainable growth in all parts of the economy - both manufacturing and services sectors. This must ensure the UK has a competitive advantage and is best equipped to deliver added value. If this can be achieved it will help stimulate business growth that in turn is vital to create new jobs. With public sector expenditure and household spending coming under intense pressure over the coming years, economic growth will need to come primarily from business investment and trade. This report focuses on the challenge of boosting spending on business investment both for firms already in the UK and by attracting inward investors by ensuring the UK is seen as the best place for them to invest. Securing this future business investment in the UK will be essential and cannot be taken for granted even though past performance has been good. There is now intense international competition to attract mobile business investment across all sectors of manufacturing and services, and not just from locations with low skills and lower wage costs. The UK must adapt to this new environment, drawing on its strengths and raising its game to remain competitive. We need to understand the key elements that drive business investment in the UK, the main obstacles that block investment and what post-recession policies are required to provide the foundations for long-term investment growth. Making the UK the best place to invest provides an insight into these issues from the perspective of investment decision makers in business: characterising the investment climate in the UK and providing solutions where problems are identified. About the report This report is the result of first-hand interviews with business leaders and an analysis of data on the blockers and drivers of business investment in the UK. It incorporates key findings from the CBI/IpsosMORI survey of CEOs published ahead of the CBI s 2010 Annual Conference. This was supplemented by a series of interviews and workshops with business leaders to understand the issues affecting business investment in more detail. Between October 2010 and February 2011, workshops were run with business leaders across the UK; in addition, the CBI conducted more than 20 in-depth interviews with CEOs and other senior directors, and a small thought leaders discussion group was convened to test initial ideas and findings. A sub-group of Trade Association Council members also helped to provide further sector-specific insights. Overall, around 400 CBI members have contributed to this project. This has given us first hand evidence and a business perspective on a wide range of issues relating to investment decision-making.
8 8 The challenge to the UK
9 9 Building on strengths The UK has established a strong reputation as a place to invest. It has great strengths including its science and R&D base, world-quality universities, dynamic culture and quality of life and a flexible labour market which together attract investment from both domestic and international companies. As a result of these attributes many multinational companies base their headquarters here and domestic firms can invest and grow. It is imperative the UK s strengths are maintained and built upon to ensure they remain areas of competitive advantage Universities Universities are one of the UK s real areas of excellence. Four of the world s top ten institutions are located here and there are world class departments in many others including fashion at Northumbria, video effects at Bournemouth and Biotechnology at Dundee University. There is also extensive experience of collaboration with business, supported by funding from the Research and Funding Councils and Technology Strategy Board. F1 World-leading universities (Source: QS World University Rankings 2010/11) Rank University Country 1 University of Cambridge UK 2 Harvard University US 3 Yale University US 4 University College London UK 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology US 6 University of Oxford UK 7 Imperial College London UK Rule of law & competition policy Innovation ecosystem Companies have confidence in the rule of law and UK competition policy to create a level playing field for all businesses. According to the World Bank, disputes are generally resolved quickly and the time it takes is significantly better than the OECD average. Business has much less confidence in the ability of governments in developing economies to enforce contracts. The UK has a well developed ecosystem to enable business innovation. We have strengths in the science base, world class design expertise, a diverse economic base (which makes multi-sector innovation possible), the R&D tax credit, an established support infrastructure (providing an incredible range of materials and services - including brand development, IP, legal, measurement, clean-lab, services and professional agency staff, right through to full product innovation), and a population that is generally open to innovation. Ease of doing business 8 University of Chicago US 9 California Institute of Technology US 10 Princeton University US The World Bank rates the UK as a good place to set up a business (rank 17th out of 183 countries) as there are few procedures and it is cheap to do; and the UK ranks very high (4th ) on the overall ease of doing business (source: World Bank Doing Business 2011 ). Technology Strategy Board The Technology Strategy Board (TSB - established in 2004) supports collaborative research with business that is nearer to market than that funded by the Research Councils. Even though it only has limited core funding of around 300m/yr, it has established itself as a key player in the UK s innovation ecosystem and continues to build up new areas of strength that will help to bring research closer to commercialisation. The TSB has established specialist Knowledge Transfer Networks to facilitate knowledge exchange around core technologies and cutting edge research and also runs the very effective Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme, linking graduate expertise in universities with projects in industry. A new 200m network of business-led Technology and Innovation Centres will also be developed over the next two years.
10 10 Building on strengths continued Clusters There are a number of existing clusters of business activity in the UK that are world class for example in financial services, creative industries, offshore oil production and aerospace. The most successful clusters have grown organically and there are opportunities to develop new ones around emerging areas of strength (eg in regenerative medicine and regional food production) and building on some of the UK s natural advantages such as in waves, tidal and offshore wind with the development of new low-carbon technologies. English language Culture and quality of life The UK still has a huge advantage with language. In particular the UK is attractive to overseas businesses looking to enter the European market, but struggling with the barrier of working in multiple languages. The culture and quality of life remain favourable in the UK, and their importance should not be underestimated. They can be particularly important in attracting international headquarters to serve the European market. The UK should follow the lead of Australia, South Africa and California to encourage a greater inward flow of tourism, which is often a precursor of new business activity. F2 Culture & quality of life (%) (Source: UK Attractiveness survey, Ernst & Young, 2010) Quality of life UK language, culture and values Flexible - labour market Political - and Oct- economic stability In the CBI s UK as a place to invest survey, respondents said flexible UK labour practices had improved in the last ten years. This is seen as a major strength, particularly for international companies, and gives the UK an edge over its European competitors. Businesses welcome the political stability in the Jan- Apr- Jul- Oct- UK and there is strong support for the Coalition government s plan to reduce the deficit as an important step back towards economic stability. F3 Manufacturing recovery (%) (Source: CBI Industrial Trends Survey, January 2011) Oct- Jan- Apr- Jul- Oct- Balance of manufacturers investment intentions month forecast compared with previous months on: Product & process innovation Training & retraining Buildings Plant & machinery Jan- Jan- Very attractive Fairly attractive Little attractive Not at all attractive Can t say
11 Tangibles and intangibles: why investment is important In order to make the UK the best place to invest, it is important to understand where the UK stands in terms of its record on investment and its plans for the future in comparison with its main economic competitors. We can also look to the views of leading business people in the UK to see what the priorities should be to ensure that the UK both retains and attracts business investment. The government s outlook for economic recovery places a large reliance on a sustained increase in business investment. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts that capital investment by businesses will grow by 7.5%-10.2% a year over the five years to 2015 (see Figure 4). The latest data show UK business investment in the fourth quarter of 2010 grew by 10% compared with the fourth quarter of 2009 and that manufacturing investment was up 14.4%. i This contrasts with forecasts for household spending growth of at or below 2% per year and declines in general government investment in every year until 2015, starting with a 15% fall this year. This highlights the importance of ensuring that the economic and regulatory environment is conducive towards business investment. As well as capital expenditure on equipment, buildings and other tangible assets, business investment also includes intangible investments in knowledge, skills and research that are vital for innovation and will be key drivers of future economic growth. Businesses invested more than 140bn in intangibles in 2008, according to research by NESTA, the independent innovation think-tank 2 (see Figure 5). They include a range of innovation-related categories such as R&D, design and software development (see Figure 7). Intangible investment has been consistently ahead of tangibles for the past decade and the gap continues to widen, reflecting the shift towards a more knowledge-intensive economy in the UK. Intangible investment in the financial sector, business services and manufacturing is now around three times that of tangibles investment. F4 Forecast growth in GDP, household spending, government investment and business investment, (%)(Source OBR) n GDP n Household spending n government investment n Business investment F5 Levels of business investment in the UK ( bn) 2 n Tangible n Intangible SEE FIGURE F6 Tangible business investment ( bn) (Source: ONS) F7 Breakdown of business investment in intangibles (2008) (Source: NESTA Driving economic growth, January 2011 and F5 left) R&D 16 Design 23 Organisational improvement 31 Training & skills development 30 Software development 22 Market research, advertising & branding 15 Mineral exploration ©right development 4 Total
12 12 The UK in a global economy Investment flows Globalisation has made capital highly mobile. Countries must compete on a world stage for investment capital that has plenty of potential destinations. The UK has to ensure that it is seen as a competitive location for foreign direct investment (FDI). Until the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 triggered a world recession, the UK was a popular destination of FDI. Indeed the UK was a magnet for FDI for much of the last decade. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) consistently placed the UK in the top 10 for inward flows of FDI new money coming in - over the last decade and in the top five since This strong performance has left the UK with the third highest stock of FDI the total amount invested over time - in the world at $1.125tr in 2009, third behind the US ($3.1tr) and France ($1.3tr) and just ahead of Germany ($0.9tr). However, the flow of FDI has fallen significantly during the latest recession from $186.4bn in 2007 to $45.7bn in In comparison, FDI flows into China have dipped only slightly and its long-term trajectory continues upward (see Figure 9). This means the government must pay close attention to issues such as taxation, the smooth running of markets, quality of infrastructure and the macroeconomic backdrop. This section looks at the recent track record of inward investment into the UK and key surveys of overseas investors views of the country as a potential destination. UK still top of EU table Europe provided the main source of inward investment to the UK in The most important countries of origin for investment in the UK were France ( 19.5bn) and the USA ( 19.1bn). The UK was the most popular investment destination within Europe in 2009 in terms of the number of FDI projects and people employed, according to an annual survey by Ernst & Young. 4 The UK ranked first in Europe for: business services, software, electronics, financial intermediation, pharmaceuticals, telecoms & post, publishing and insurance & pensions The fast-growing BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) collectively made a net contribution of just 281m in 2009 although preliminary figures for 2010 appear higher. Countries to have withdrawn capital from the UK in 2009 included the Netherlands (- 8bn) and Japan (- 5.7bn). Net investment from Africa fell from 1bn in 2008 to - 6m in 2009 (Figure 8). F8 Net source of inward investment in UK companies in 2009 ( bn) (Source: ONS, FDI statistics December 2010) -. Europe The Americas Asia.. F9 Net Foreign Direct Investment (top 7 countries in 2009) (Source: UNCTAD) - United States China France China, Hong Kong SAR United Kingdom Russian Federation Germany -.. Astralaisia & Oceania Africa -
13 The UK in a global economy continued Investment climate cools Foreign investors assess a large range of characteristics when deciding where to locate businesses overseas. The World Economic Forum ranks countries according to factors such as innovation and business sophistication, efficiency enhancers (e.g. labour market efficiency, financial markets, higher education and technological readiness) and more basic requirements (e.g. macroeconomics, infrastructure and primary education). 5 While the UK ranks highly in the WEF global competitiveness ranking 12th out of 139 countries (see Figure 10) it is outranked by many of its key competitors including four other members of the G7 (Canada, Germany, Japan and the United States). The UK received its lowest score 56th on macroeconomic environment, because of high levels of government debt, poor budget balance and low savings rates. Its second lowest score (25th) was for financial market development primarily because of an extremely low rating for the soundness of its banks and low scores on ease of access to business loans and venture capital. Data from Eurostat show that the availability of venture capital has declined from high levels for both early and later stage investors and is now starting to converge with levels seen in the rest of Europe and the US (see Figure 11). Building BRICs: The view from China Chinese companies are seeking to grow by entering new markets. Globally, China is focused on accessing raw materials including minerals, oil and food, but in Europe the focus is more on knowledge and innovation. Recent investment by mainland Chinese businesses has exceeded 300 million and created or safeguarded over 1200 jobs in the UK, according to UKTI. The majority of this investment was in R&D. China is the eighth largest investor into Europe and was the third largest creator of jobs: these trends will only increase. vi F10 World Economic Forum competitiveness ranking (Source: Global Competitiveness Index , WEF) Country/economy Overall rank Basic requirements rank Efficiency enhancers rank Innovation & sophistication factors rank Switzerland Sweden Singapore United States Germany Japan Finland Netherlands Denmark Canada Hong Kong SAR United Kingdom Others: France (15), China (27), Poland (39), India (51), Brazil (58), Russia (63) F11 Later stage venture capital investment (% of GDP) (Source: Eurostat) France Germany Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom United States EU average
14 Sweden Spain Czech Republic 14 Korea ( ) France ( ) United States ( ) The UK in a global economy continued Intense tax competition In an era of mobile capital, tax rates paid by businesses and individuals play an important role in encouraging and deterring foreign investors. The UK government has cut the rate of corporation tax in recent years and the UK now ranks as eighth lowest in the world following the decision in the 2011 Budget to lower it to 26%. The Coalition government plans to reduce the rate further to 23% by 2015, which would raise the UK to fifth place assuming that no other immediate competitor nation reduces its rate (see Figure 12). The reduction in the headline rate of corporation tax is welcome and will make the UK a more attractive place to invest. However, doubts remain, particularly among internationally mobile businesses, about the highest marginal rate of personal taxation, which is higher than in most competitor countries and is seen as a blocker on investment and talent flow. The recent increase in the top rate to 50% is a major concern to businesses both at home and abroad, leaving the UK near the bottom of the global league table with only the Netherlands (52%), Denmark (55.4%) and Sweden F12 Comparison of corporation and personal tax rates (Source: KPMG Corporate and Indirect tax survey 2010 & KPMG individual income tax survey 2010) (56.6%) with a higher rate. (See Figure 12). Building BRICs: The view from India The UK is an attractive place to invest for Indian firms, receiving more than 50% of Indian business investment into Europe. There are currently around 700 Indian companies with investments here, according to UKTI. The openness of markets, flexibility of the labour force, ease with which businesses can be acquired as well as the cultural and linguistic ties are seen as good reasons to invest. There are many opportunities for growth through collaborative innovation. Country Main rate of corporation tax Ireland 12.5 Singapore 17 Poland 19 Switzerland 21 South Korea 24 China 25 Malaysia 25 United Kingdom 26 Germany 29 France 33 Brazil 34 India 34 United States 40 Japan 41 Country Highest personal income tax rate Singapore 20 Malaysia 26 Brazil 27.5 India 30 Poland 32 South Korea 35 United States 35 Switzerland 40 France 41 China 45 Germany 45 Ireland 47 Japan 50 United Kingdom 50 The UK currently ranks 19th in terms of the attractiveness of its tax system incentives for R&D, although it is somewhat more competitive on R&D grants and other direct support. Taken together the UK ranks 7th out of 12 leading economies, according to the OECD (see Figure 13). F13 Government funding and support for business expenditure on R&D (%GDP) (Source: OECD, 2010) Canada ( ) Netherlands Japan Switzerland ( ) Italy Ireland Belgium United Kingdom ( ) Germany Norway ( ) Finland Sweden Spain Czech Republic Korea ( ) France ( ) United States ( ) n Direct government funding of BERD n Indirect government support through R&D tax incentives
15 15 What businesses look for
16 16 What CEOs say: findings from the CBI survey Cloud over UK as the place to invest The UK may increasingly become a secondary location for business activities over the next five years as companies consider moving operations abroad or investing elsewhere. The CBI/Ipsos MORI survey of 121 senior business leaders in FTSE 100 and 250 companies and equivalent large overseas companies operating in this country found that the UK s attractiveness as a place to invest had declined over the last decade (see Figure14). 7 There were significant declines in the UK position on taxes, regulation, planning, and financial support. Labour relations were one of the few areas to improve significantly, although this position is now being tested in the wake of the recession. Since the survey was published, some businesses have reported strike activity as a significant blocker of new investment - in particular this appears to be the case with internationalised companies taking on activity that had previously been in the public sector. A combination of factors are responsible some relating to the UK business environment, but others due to increased competition from overseas (see Figure 15). The UK currently competes well as a business investment location against the rest of Europe, but rather less well than North America, India and China. This is despite businesses indicating greater levels of difficulty in investing in these latter two locations. While manufacturing is currently at the forefront of the recovery and is the focus of much political and policy attention in terms of creating a rebalanced economy for the future, respondents indicated that the UK was still much less attractive for manufacturing investment. However, there is still potential for growth in parts of the manufacturing value chain if obstacles to investment can be overcome (see Figure 16). F14 Attractiveness of UK over other countries, (%) Historical legacy of your business Good labour relations Flexibility of work practices Critical mass of other businesses in your sector Access to markets Quality of life Availability of trained/skilled workforce Political and economic stability Infrastructure Exchange rate risk Ability to attract internationally mobile key staff Availability of land/planning restrictions Availability of grants/loans Business taxation levels - Nature/level of regulation - Personal taxation levels < UK declined UK improved > F15 UK as place to invest versus other countries; current opinion n UK compares well n UK compares equally n UK compares poorly F16 How attractive as place is to the UK to invest (net balance, %) All Financial services Services Manufacturing <<<<<- %<<<<<
17 17 What CEOs say: findings from the CBI survey continued CEOs mull relocation When asked where their business s primary location would be in five years time, fewer of the CEOs who had made up their mind saw the UK as their main base in This was true for all the seven activity types featured in the survey (see Figure 17). However there is still all to play for. When responses from those who had still to decide were included, there was a potential for an increase in the UK s share of investment in five areas. Surprisingly, it is areas seen as traditional strengths for the UK, such as design, and marketing & brand development, which appear most at risk. Only 48% of survey respondents indicated the UK would be the primary location for their brand and marketing activity in five years time, compared with 63% today. The UK holds steady as a primary location for design among overseas HQ businesses operating here, but the number of UK HQ businesses citing the UK as their primary design location is forecast to drop significantly to 55%, from 71% today. However, there is also the potential for growth in some business activities as many are still uncertain about where activity will focus in the future. R&D and production & assembly appear to have the greatest potential for growth if undecided businesses can be encouraged to consider investing here over the next five years. Some other aspects of services, support and sales could also grow. The UK therefore has a lot to compete for. F17 Company location now and in five years time (% respondants) Design Marketing and brand development Research and Development Production & assembly Service provision IT & admin support Sales n UK now n UK in five years n Undecided Tax is a major factor for multinationals Internationalised businesses (those with an overseas HQ or activity in numerous countries) place a much greater emphasis on the tax regime as an influence on business investment decisions and are also more likely to think the UK performs poorly. F18 How important is business taxation when making investment decisions & how does the UK rank? (Mean score out 10) UK only to to + Number of countries in which firm operates F19 How important is personal taxation when making investment decisions & how does the UK rank? (Mean score out of 10) UK only to to + Number of countries in which firm operates n Influence on investment n How the UK ranks
18 18 CEOs ingredients for success Listening to businesses views The analysis in the previous section highlights concerns that the UK is losing its attractiveness as a place to invest. It also charts a decline in levels of inward investment and in the UK s competitiveness. These weaknesses need to be addressed, especially as the government is putting so much weight on a sharp rise in business investment to lead the UK into recovery. In order to understand the reforms that are needed and the priorities that must be set, the CBI has conducted 1:1 interviews and has facilitated discussions with CEOs and senior directors across the UK, exploring our survey findings in more detail to establish what really makes a difference to investment decision makers. Discussions with business produced hundreds of possible policy suggestions of which over 40 came up time and again under 20 headline themes. These themes have been summarised in the table in Figure 20 on the following page. They are broadly divided into four groups of factors (see Figure 20). There are two groups where reform is needed to address failings by removing blockers to investment or delivering a step change improvement in factors that will attract investment. The leading issues identified under these groups were the lack of long-term predictability and certainty, difficulties with business mood music and the lack of a well-articulated vision for the UK. There are two groups of positive features that currently exist that need to be safeguarded or require extra investment. The factors currently driving investment have already been highlighted in the section on UK strengths. These need to be maintained and can be built on further to secure future growth. The top issues under step change (vision and ambition) and blockers (lack of predictability and certainty) link together as an overall priority to create a forward-looking vision for the UK. A strong vision helping to set the direction of travel, alongside a positive framework within which businesses can operate, will create confidence for future business investment and growth. This was by far the most important issue identified throughout our workshops and interviews with businesses. This vision and individual framework elements are discussed in detail in the following sections. Policymakers must take business concerns on board Policy changes and regulatory reforms are most likely to have a positive impact when they take account of the questions that dominate business thinking when making investment decisions. Based on our discussions we identify four key questions: Is there a market? Do we have enough certainty to make an investment and secure a return? Is the cost right? Do we have the capability? Of course each of these questions opens up another range of issues. For example cost is considered in its widest sense, including accessing finance and skills, the amount of tax to pay, grants and other incentives available. Certainty relates not just to certainty about the potential for sales of a new innovation resulting from an investment, but certainty in the wider political and business environment around policy and regulatory changes, long-term planning and whether changes can be predicted. Capability is often considered in terms of R&D, skills, supply chain networks and links into the innovation landscape. For many businesses, the UK is recognised as only a small market compared with the potential offered by China, India and others although there is much the UK can do to position itself more effectively with a strategic vision for the future and coherent activity to make progress in realising the vision with business. Taking the analysis in the first section with the findings from our discussions with business leaders of the survey we have highlighted broad areas where reform is needed if the UK is to secure a reputation as the best place to invest that will be examined over the next sections: The taxation regime Pump priming investment into key markets Key infrastructure for business success A new vision and overarching framework
19 19 F 20 Business demands for policy reform Blockers that must be removed Drivers that need support Currently blocking business investment Lack of long-term predictability, certainty Mood music about business from government and the media Currently an important driver of investment and position needs to be maintained Science base, R&D and innovation the UK s innovation ecosystem Cultural and quality of life aspects Getting these right could create a step change in investment intentions Vision & ambition for the UK Long-term predictability, certainty Finance for SMEs Rule of law Stimulating new market activity Lack of appropriate skills for business Planning Regulation and legislation Potential for strike activity as public and private sector restructure Public procurement Business tax targeted to encourage investment Infrastructure resilience Getting these right should also drive future business investment Universities access to their IP and development of skills for business Developing future entrepreneurship skills at an early age
20 20 Policy proposals: taxation