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Northern law firm asks the Chancellor for 'Fourteen measures to help boost the economy'

Posted on 26 June 2020

Northern law firm asks the Chancellor for 'Fourteen measures to help boost the economy'

Square One Law senior partner, Ian Gilthorpe has written to the Chancellor, Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, to suggest fourteen measures to help boost the economy.

The letter comes after the Newcastle, Tees Valley and Leeds-based law firm, together with project partner Recognition PR, established the Business Fellowship Forum to support business leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 200 business leaders have been giving their views on the different business challenges during the emergency and Square One Law surveyed hundreds more to deliver a list of credible policy suggestions ahead of the chancellor’s forthcoming economic statement in July.*

Among the key suggestions are:

  • Firms that receive special support from the Government should be required to maintain timely payments to their suppliers
  • Enterprise Investment Scheme relief should be increased to 50% of income tax
  • Introduce a temporary suspension of Capital Gains Tax
  • Maintain the commitment of the Government to large infrastructure investments
  • Formalise local content requirements for big Government infrastructure spending
  • Push ahead with Freeports in the North East
  • Re-introduce enterprise zones, which in the past resulted in the development of The Metrocentre, Doxford International Business Park and Newcastle Business Park

Ian Gilthorpe, senior partner at Square One Law, said: “Our unique relationship with hundreds of businesses, through our executive fellowship initiative and of COVID-19 business response support group, has given us real insight into the needs of business at this critical time in the economic life of Britain.

“Interestingly, we are talking to a wide range of size and sector businesses and we had a great many excellent ideas which we have distilled down into fourteen key measures.

“When people talk about managing the ‘second wave’ of the pandemic, they should really be examining measures to tackle the massive economic danger we will face without further speedy and innovative Government action.

“The ideas we have sent to the chancellor are practical measures that would help businesses to generate the cash they need to survive, stimulate the economy by returning to the ‘levelling up’ agenda, and provide tax incentives for investment to continue at the pace and scale needed for a lasting recovery.”

Below is Ian Gilthorpe’s letter to the chancellor and the fourteen suggestions he has made for potential inclusion in the forthcoming government economic statement.

Copy of the letter:

Dear Chancellor

Government initiative suggestions from business leaders

In advance of an economic statement from you, which has been trailed in the media, I wanted the opportunity to tell you about a number of things North East businesses would consider to be positive ideas for the future. I attach a list of suggestions that could make a real difference to businesses which want to maintain the viability of their operation and grow.

Since the start of lockdown, Square One Law together with Recognition PR, has been running a weekly business fellowship forum to discuss evolving issues and opportunities as well as providing support in those sessions to over 200 business leaders.  In addition, my own firm has contacted 1800 business people in the North East to ask them what they would want the Government to do next. Our work during the crisis has involved providing support to the wider business community and often we have been working with companies despite their inability to pay, because it was the right thing to do.

What was impressive from the early days of the present crisis was the fact that HMT would launch initiatives because of the urgency of the situation; if they weren’t perfect on day one they were refined, but the willingness to launch instilled confidence that the support would be there. It seems to me that the second wave of COVID-19 will actually be “economic impact” with grave threats to many businesses and employment.  I believe what is now required, once again, is pace. We need a similarly decisive and risked-based approach from HMT as a matter of urgency so we can boost the economy to try to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 and relaunch.  The best way of creating these initiatives is to empower entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial businesses as they are used to taking advantage of opportunities and can act in a much more agile way than government.

We all know that many companies will fail on this upturn.  Many have incurred debt to fund the lockdown period and are unable to raise debt to fund a return to continuity and as a result, without capital injections into their businesses, many employees on furlough will simply transfer from one form of Government support to Universal Credit - again, at the cost of Government

We want to help the country, in particular our region, to not simply survive this crisis but to find a way to move forward and thrive. Recognising that the Government’s post-election agenda was to tackle levels of regional inequality, which are worse than some other OECD countries, we have reached out to our North-East and wider network and we have made some suggestions of initiatives for consideration. 

I hope you find these helpful.

Yours sincerely

Ian Gilthorpe
Senior Partner
Square One Law