The Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Global Enterprise Survey Report 2010 (PDF) contains lots of interesting information, but its third and final section, on how businesses in different global regions view their ‘regulatory and taxation environment’, is perhaps the most interesting. The graph above (click on chart) displays responses to the question “How business friendly is your country’s regulatory and taxation environment?”
Given that the dark red means “very”, the bright red means “fairly”, the light grey means “not very”, and the dark grey means “not at all”, it is clear that the UK does not come out of this survey very well. Indeed, of the regions surveyed, UK businesses are the most likely to be unhappy, and the least likely to be happy, with their regulatory and taxation environment.
Equally interesting are the views given on which regulation and taxation factors are seen as a help or a hindrance. Every factor examined by the survey is viewed as a hindrance by UK businesses, with UK businesses often having the most strongly negative feelings of all the regions surveyed.
All this makes for pretty depressing reading. The lesson the government should take from it is that British businesses don’t need an old-fashioned industrial policy to help them grow. What they need is for government to just get out of the way, and stop making their lives so difficult.
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