ICAS President Sir Brian Souter proposes Gift Aid for start-ups

Sir Brian

28 March 2018

ICAS President Sir Brian Souter CA, has today launched the first of a series of ideas to help boost economic growth.

Sir Brian has put the themes of compassion and enterprise at the heart of his year-long Presidency at ICAS. As one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists, his aim is to encourage a more entrepreneurial society.

He today proposes an innovative tax incentive that will make it easier and financially rewarding for families and communities to invest in budding entrepreneurs.

Key features of Sir Brian’s proposed Small Business Enterprise Tax Scheme include:

  • individuals will be able to invest up to £20,000 into a small business;
  • businesses could invest an aggregate limit of £100,000 at any given time;
  • the business receiving the investment will be able to claim 25% of the investment amount from the Government (equal to the basic tax rate paid by the investor).

Sir Brian was brought up in a council house in Perth. He is best known as the Chairman of Stagecoach, which he co-founded as a start-up in 1980. Sir Brian also owns a stake in several other companies through his investment vehicle, Souter Investments.

Stagecoach started with only two buses. Start-ups need commitment, aspiration and capital. Banks are reluctant to provide funding to new companies. Sir Brian turned to his family to provide the critical first cheque to allow him to start his dream of growing Stagecoach into a world-famous transport company.

Sir Brian said: “Start-ups are one of the main drivers of economic growth and are the lifeblood of local economies.

“Business birth rates and survival rates are the key factors here and we need to radically improve them.

“Our politicians need to pay more attention to the creation of wealth as it makes a fair distribution of wealth much easier to achieve.”

Read more about Sir Brian's proposal in The CA magazine.


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