British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) chairman Robert Easton has called on the government to use its balance sheet on a ‘contingent basis’ through guarantees for a portion of the capital going into high growth companies.
The suggestion was part of Easton’s speech at the BVCA’s annual Chairman’s Dinner and was made alongside of the launch of its new study, The Growth Initiative.
Contained within the report were policy recommendations broken down into four categories: labour market, tax and regulation, business finance and industrial policy.
Speaking to guests at the dinner, Easton said, ‘So much has been written about what needs to be done to restore growth that the policy landscape is now rather cluttered.
‘But there are some things we can be sure of: while the UK’s fiscal position remains in need of further repair there is a limit to what stimulus can be delivered without adding to an already large debt burden.’
The industry body’s report interviewed 50 CEOs of UK businesses and those company’s private equity and venture capital backers.
On the labour market, the study suggests making youth unemployment the number one priority by addressing the needs of businesses in improving the skills of new recruits.
It also puts forward the recommendation to shake up visa reform so that skilled workers can be secured, ‘wherever they may come from’.
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For tax and regulation, the BVCA says that the government’s commitment to getting Britain’s public finances under control should be applauded but that there are still a number of areas which require attention, such as cutting regulation further.
It would also like to see Britain put together a ‘well-targeted’ industrial policy to win what it describes as the global race. The government, it says, must select clusters to back those that have a key sectoral advantage and a geographic critical mass.
Commenting on the report, Easton adds, ‘I hope “The Growth Initiative” will add real value to the debate and lead to meaningful policy change to help businesses invest more and grow faster.
‘After all this is a goal that politicians, businessmen and all of other stakeholders unanimously agree on.’