RJB Financial Services challenges over-regulation in party manifestos
As manifestos hit the papers and the big policy declarations are being made, grand political gestures often hold the biggest currency amongst voters. The feeling that ‘the grass is always greener’ is a part of the human condition, and as such, often simply the word ‘change’ is enough to run an election on.
These grand gestures usually come with collateral damage. In this election, as with many before, ‘big business’ has become a focal point, especially for a particularly left leaning Labour Party. More regulation, red tape and redistribution is being promised, tapping into the anti-corporate sentiment that has only grown since the 2008 recession. However, what rarely translates to the voters is who the real victims of rapidly shifting policy tend to be.
Where multinational corporations can afford administrative departments and teams of lawyers to understand and implement regulatory change, SMEs often find it far harder to adapt as quickly. Many smaller businesses complain of a system that is rigged against them, where the big players lobby for policy changes in order to tie up their smaller competitors as they struggle to comply with new regulations.
When it comes to over-coming challenges like this one, RJB Financial Services stood as a perfect example. Writing in his best practice article for The Parliamentary Review, managing director Mark Nind spoke of how a team of four had dealt with significant challenges in order to adapt to a changing industry. The business has gone from strength to strength, increasing turnover and profitability each year, but this has not come without obstacles.
Nind writes of over-regulation as a primary example of these difficulties, stating ‘we’re always more likely to get more than less’, as it is far more tempting as a government or quango to add rules rather than to remove them, creating a ratchet effect that can strangle industry. GDPR, which Nind says leads to no ‘perceived benefit for most clients’, simply provides the company with ‘further administrative duties in the short term’, stopping them from allocating resources to the running of the business.
At the same time, significant policy changes can erase whole sections of the business. Using an extreme example, Nind theorises ‘if inheritance tax suddenly vanished…there would be no inheritance tax planning, and we would lose a massive chunk of our business’.
Nind is not one to complain and refers to these issues as challenges to be met rather than potentially clumsy initiatives, but it is well worth heeding the lessons from his examples. SMEs are the backbone of British industry, and the harder the government makes their lives, the less easy it may be for them to help the country thrive.