London’s top startups and venture capital firms will today urge the UK government to relax rules and taxes in order to maintain the capital’s status as the top European tech hub.
In a Startup Manifesto – written by policy group Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) led by former government adviser Guy Levin – and signed by 150 tech heavyweights, including the chief executives of Zoopla, King Digital and Tech City UK, as well as partners from venture capital (VC) firms Index Ventures and Balderton Capital, Coadec calls for tax cuts for entrepreneurs, including the reduction of National Insurance contributions for firms that volunteer to teach coding to teachers in support of the new curriculum, and relaxing visa rules to open the door to talent from outside the EU.
Founded by tech entrepreneurs, The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) is a non-profit that campaigns for policies to support digital startups in the UK. They conduct research, host events, and run campaigns on behalf of the UK’s startup community.Codec represents the new wave of British businesses built on technological innovation.
The Manifesto has been welcomed by top politicians including Chuka Umunna MP (Shadow Business Secretary): “We want to see more people starting up, leading and working in business and the creation of high-skilled, better-paid jobs. Britain’s burgeoning digital economy has a huge role to play in meeting both of these challenges, and that’s why Coadec’s manifesto is right to emphasise the importance of digital startups as well as the need to foster digital skills.” says Chuka.
Business minister Matthew Hancock MP said: “There’s no doubt there is yet more to do and we will scour any proposals to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”
“Ensuring that we have the right policies and incentives in place to maximise the potential of these businesses is critical to the growth of the overall economy,” Zoopla boss Alex Chesterman told City A.M.
According to Jon Bradford (MD, Techstars London) “Coadec’s Startup Manifesto is a exceptionally important document at a pivot point in the evolution of the tech sector in the UK. Over the last four years, the government has done a huge amount to nurture the startup ecosystem, with the result that we now have THE most vibrant and successful startup cluster outside of the US and regularly being touted as the key rival to New York.
But now is an important juncture: if we are to continue on this path of growth, we need to consolidate the accomplishments to date. The Startup Manifesto does an outstanding job of identifying and making the case for what needs to happen for Britain’s startup ecosystem to go from early traction to world-beating success.”
The Startup Manifesto sets out 24 ways the next government can make the UK a world leader on digital innovation:
Improve access to finance
1. Commit to keeping SEIS and EIS tax reliefs for the next Parliament
2. Bring back tax reliefs for Corporate Venture Capital
3. Remove the cap on Entrepreneurs’ Relief and lower the equity threshold
Improve access to talent
4. Restore post-study work visas for STEM graduates
5. Make it easier for startups to hire from overseas
6. Reform the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
7. Open up the Entrepreneur Visa to those with funding from angel investors and crowdfunding platforms
8. Review and streamline visa processes with the support of the Government Digital Service
9. Invest to help teachers deliver the new computing curriculum
10. Create incentives for individuals and startups to help train teachers and students
11. Promote free tools including Moocs, Codecademy, and third sector initiatives like code clubs
Build world class digital infrastructure and increase supply of affordable office space
12. Continue to invest in superfast connectivity and raise the level of ambition for digital infrastructure
13. Review the planning system and property regulations to increase the supply of affordable office space for startups
Bring laws and regulations into the 21st Century
14. Make it government policy to support disruptive innovation and create an environment where people and businesses can adapt
15. Encourage permissionless innovation
16. Commit more resources to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
17. Create a framework for data protection that gives confidence to consumers and does not stifle innovation
18. Continue to support fintech innovation
19. Review regulations surrounding collaborative consumption and the ‘sharing economy’
Use digital government to unlock innovation
20. Make it easier for startups to sell to government
21. Commit to keep and expand the Government Digital Service
22. Create standards for secure online identity assurance
23. Accelerate progress towards ‘Government as a Platform’, including releasing APIs for government services
24. Go further on open data, including real-time performance dashboards for all government services