The Conservative Manifesto promised to “unleash Britain”, with the aim of making Britain “the best place to start and grow a business”, promising that this government will “back entrepreneurs”. Yesterday the Sunday Times reported that there are budget plans to double capital gains taxes for entrepreneurs…
Guido has confirmed that the small print in the manifesto about “reforming and reviewing Entrepreneurs’ Relief” is an intention by the Treasury to double capital gains taxes for entrepreneurs selling their business. Treasury spinners have taken to describing it as a loophole. It is not a loophole, it was deliberately designed to encourage entrepreneurs to take risks and build businesses in Britain. George Osborne liked it so much he expanded the relief when he was Chancellor, such that it now enables company founders selling their businesses to pay capital gains tax at a rate of 10% up to £10m. It does not benefit billionaires, it is focused on small businesses.
The Treasury is spinning that Entrepreneurs’ Relief benefits only 5,000 people to the tune of some £100,000 each. This seems deliberately selective, the Federation of Small Business calculates that 38,000 everyday entrepreneurs benefit on average to the tune of £15,000. Last week more than 150 business people, including former trade minister Digby Jones and Luke Johnson, signed a letter to the chancellor calling on him to keep Entrepreneurs’ Relief in place. The letter, written by E2E, a group representing 23,000 entrepreneurs, wanted to know where was the review promised in the manifesto?
The one place that doubling capital gains taxes for British entrepreneurs will be welcomed is in the finance ministries of our EU competitors, where they are jealous that Britain is the tech start-up superpower of Europe. They will welcome new start-ups with open arms.