UK Government Drives Nanotech Companies To France

At last, the UK government has given a reason for the various Nanotech Trade/Industry associations to exist with its rather bizarre plans to penalise enterprise. The increase in Capital Gains Tax to 18% will particularly affect emerging technology business, in contrast to the previous rules which rewarded entrepreneurs for the long term development of businesses via a 10% CGT rate for investments held for more than two years.

While the increase in tax was designed to hit private equity firms perceived to be using the rules to make excessive profits, the Government seems to have forgotten about the hundreds of thousands of smaller ventures. I suspect that many entrepreneurs will be queuing up to flog off their businesses to private equity at a discount before the new rules come into force next April, and that fund raising will become more difficult as business angels are forced to reduce their risk and look for much higher returns to offset the CGT increase.

People are so angry that some are even considering moving to France!

All in all it looks like a very short sighted policy that will discourage enterprise. Looking at the line up of companies presenting at the UK Nanoforum flagship event in November the UK already seems to be at a severe disadvantage in the nanotech entrepreneurship stakes (the program designed to show off the best of British nanotech includes a couple of old favourites, an Indian company, a company whose products don’t seem to work anymore and Nanosight).

So come on industry associations, never mind squabbling about regulation and codes of conduct, and how about making sure that the UK has some nanotech to be regulated?

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