Askar Sheibani

Autumn Statement/Spending Review – Comtek CEO comments

The Autumn Statement, which was for the first time combined with the Spending Review, was an early Christmas present in some ways for the business community. There has finally been movement on the current uniform business rates system and the Government has vowed to create 26 new Enterprise Zones to stimulate business growth in the UK. Lacking, however, were plans to improve local transport links and appropriate measures to correct the skills gap, which is still hampering the UK economy.

Askar Sheibani, CEO and founder of telecoms repair and support company, The Comtek Group, headquartered in Deeside, North Wales, offers the following comment:

“I applaud the UK Government for finally reviewing the business rates system and bringing it under local control; allowing councils to lower rates to stimulate economic growth when required and invest the proceeds within the local economy. That said, there is still some way to go as business rates – which to date have been unfairly calculated by property value rather than business profitability – are still in need of a complete review to truly bring rates on par with the rest of Europe. Let’s hope that in the time it takes the Government to properly review the business rates system, the new Enterprise Zones will stimulate business growth for local communities, such as with the Deeside Enterprise Zone in Wales. I am pleased to see that the Government is continuing with this initiative of injecting much needed cash into regions of the UK that aren’t so closely tied to cities.

“The skills shortage is a constant problem in the UK, especially when it comes to R&D, and this is hindering a number of high-tech companies which are unable to find skilled employees that are right for the job. While the apprenticeship schemes supported by the Government are commendable, there needs to be a much more formulised system in place to train our engineers of the future. Better collaboration between universities and local businesses, incentivised through tax breaks, for example, could inspire young engineers with a taste of their future.

“In terms of transport, while it’s great that the government is upping its expenditure, much of this money will be spent on vanity projects, such as HS2. Instead, the government should be investing in smaller rail infrastructure projects – such as the electrification of the Wrexham to Bidston rail line – which could better connect local communities and allow them to prosper from access to more prosperous economies in the cities.”

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