In the run up to the General Election, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has called upon on all political parties to prioritise actions essential for revitalising the economy and making the UK the premier location to start, run, and grow a business.

In light of the unexpected announcement of a general election on July 4, ICAEW has released a statement which has urged each of the political parties to adopt concrete measures to enhance productivity, support business growth, and bolster the UK’s economic resilience.

At the beginning of 2024, ICAEW released its manifesto, presenting a series of recommendations for the next government to develop a UK economy that is productive, highly skilled, sustainable, innovative, resilient, trustworthy, and a leader in trade.

Alan Vallance, ICAEW’s Chief Executive, stated: “The UK faces major decisions about the shape and direction of its future economy. We are at an important crossroads with digital technologies and the green transition presenting risks and opportunities for organisations across the country.

“ICAEW members tell us that certainty and stability are top priorities, and we hope our recommendations help whoever forms the next government to take the bold action necessary to restore resilience to the economy and bring about a renewal of business confidence.”

Enhancing Productivity and Trade Based on the expertise and experience of ICAEW members, who support millions of organisations, the manifesto advocates for renewed support for start-ups, measures to reduce the administrative burden of trade, and the implementation of a simplified, digital tax system.

To assist new and growing businesses, the recommended measures include:

  • Creating business start-up passports to streamline HMRC registrations;
  • Reintroducing growth vouchers;
  • Committing to increase R&D spending beyond 3% of GDP; and
  • Establishing a regulation roadmap.

Additionally, ICAEW asserts that to attract investment into the UK, the next government must promote world-class corporate governance, enhance reporting standards, and combat economic crime.

ICAEW has recommended not only meeting but exceeding OECD corporate governance minimum standards, expanding reporting requirements for public interest entities, and ensuring funding for a statutory regulator within the next parliament.

Adopting Technology and Sustainability ICAEW also advocated for strategies to position the UK as a leader in sustainable technologies and to leverage the potential of artificial intelligence (AI).

Along with a comprehensive UK skills strategy, the ICAEW has called for a specific plan focused on technological competencies and AI. This includes establishing an AI governance framework and providing clear guidance on digital assets, including their valuation and audit.

They also emphasised that to capitalise on the green transition, the next government must implement a net-zero investment strategy within a comprehensive transition plan for the entire economy.

Political parties were encouraged to set ambitious goals in order to drive change, with ICAEW suggesting a commitment to making London the world’s first net-zero, just, and nature-positive financial centre, as far cry for where we find the capital today but this move would not be without controversy given the response to Sadiq Khan’s green measures (e.g. the ULEZ charge zones).

Vallance encouraged ICAEW members to share the manifesto with local MPs and political party representatives. “These recommendations are based on our members’ knowledge and experiences. We hope that by bringing our thoughts together we can help to inform the forthcoming debates and party manifestos,” he said.

“Ultimately, we look forward to seeing the detailed policies the political parties would implement in government to achieve the economic resilience and renewal our members are calling for.”

For specific information on how the upcoming general election and the tax measures and policies announced by each of the parties involves will affect you and your business, please contact us directly as all information in our articles is general and cannot be considered advice.