ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

ICAEW manifesto: shadow minister discusses SME investment

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 20 Feb 2024

ICAEW has been presenting its manifesto for a more resilient and economically healthy UK to ministers of all parties in the run-up to its official launch, including shadow small business minister Rushanara Ali.

ICAEW Director of Economies Suren Thiru and Head of Business Simon Gray went to Parliament to present the ICAEW Manifesto to Rushanara Ali MP, Shadow Minister for Small Business and Investment.

Thiru began the meeting by outlining the latest Business Confidence Monitor results, which provide key insights into the current economic picture of the UK. Gray then ran through members’ insights and concerns, including the knock-on effect of the national living wage and difficulties accessing finance. 

Ali was keen to hear feedback from ICAEW on Labour’s plan for small business, which was released late last year. They discussed how the government could improve the picture for SME lending, including the role of the British Business Bank. Ali also noted that late payments were part of the access to finance issue, with the conversation touching on the role of the Small Business Commissioner, legislation and culture change.

Late payments are now a wider problem for the economy, with businesses of all sizes paying late. Ali said that tackling them would be a priority for a Labour government. He also asked about SMEs engaging with the public sector and expressed a desire to make public procurement more attractive for businesses of all sizes.

The minister was keen to hear more about some of the insights ICAEW had provided in its submission to the Treasury Select Committee’s inquiry into SME Finance, such as the growth voucher scheme and the threshold of start-up loans from the British Business Bank.

Finally, Gray and Thiru ran through the pillars of ICAEW’s Manifesto, and Ali asked to see the granular policy detail covered in the document.

The ICAEW manifesto for 2024 focuses on measures to improve growth and create a more resilient UK economy. It explores seven major topics:

Productivity: make the UK the best place to start, run and grow a business. Provide long-term certainty for business and remove obstacles to growth.

Skills: make it easier for workers to gain the strategic skills of the future and for employers to access a skilled and diverse workforce.

Sustainability: show bold global leadership on net zero and financing the green transition. Lead on the transition technologies that will power growth.

Innovation: develop the skills and standards to lead on AI. Invest in the technologies where the UK can lead the world.

Resilience: ensure public administration is effective to unleash potential. Urgently address the resilience of central and local public finances.

Trust: secure trust in companies to encourage investment in the UK. Champion world-leading corporate governance, reporting and regulation and tackle economic crime.

Trade: devise trade policies that promote services and create opportunities for SMEs to export. Give the UK’s vital services sector the prominence it deserves in trade.

As part of ICAEW’s engagement with political stakeholders in the run up to the 2024 General Election, ICAEW has been speaking with several ministers from all parties. We will run summaries of other meetings as part of our ICAEW Manifesto coverage.

Read the full manifesto

See ICAEW's recommendations for the UK's next government in full, including actions to be taken and commitments to be made, that will ensure the resilience of the economy.

Manifesto 2024: ICAEW's vision for a renewed and resilient UK

Further resources

Analysis from ICAEW's experts on the Autumn Budget 2021 and the comprehensive spending review published on 27 October 2021.
Budget 2024

On 6 March 2024, Jeremy Hunt delivered his budget reducing NI rates, increasing the VAT threshold for small businesses and pledging the end to 'non-domicile' tax status. Read ICAEW's reaction and analysis.

Read more
Sterling coins and banknotes

Expert analysis on the latest national and international economic issues and trends, and interviews with prominent voices across the finance industry alongside data on the state of economy.

Visit the hub
Insights special
Charles Platts ACA, Paragraf CFO Graphene-based electronic devices manufacturer man lab coat
Resilience and renewal

This Insights content series examines how we can build a better economy for a more resilient future.

Find out more
Open AddCPD icon

Add Verified CPD Activity

Introducing AddCPD, a new way to record your CPD activities!

Log in to start using the AddCPD tool. Available only to ICAEW members.

Add this page to your CPD activity

Step 1 of 3
Download recorded
Download not recorded

Please download the related document if you wish to add this activity to your record

What time are you claiming for this activity?
Mandatory fields

Add this page to your CPD activity

Step 2 of 3
Mandatory field

Add activity to my record

Step 3 of 3
Mandatory field

Activity added

An error has occurred
Please try again

If the problem persists please contact our helpline on +44 (0)1908 248 250