British Asian businesses share their hopes for the new government

Subhasini Naicker Wednesday 10th July 2024 06:43 EDT

With the UK's political landscape shifting significantly under a new Labour government, British Asian businesses are closely observing and expressing their hopes for the future. This community, comprising a diverse array of enterprises ranging from small family-owned businesses to large corporations, plays a vital role in the UK's economic fabric. With ties deeply rooted in both historical migration and contemporary economic interactions, British Asian businesses have contributed substantially to the UK's prosperity across various sectors including retail, technology, finance, healthcare, and hospitality.

The recent political developments have sparked a renewed sense of anticipation and expectation among British Asian entrepreneurs and business leaders. They are keenly interested in how the new government will shape policies affecting trade, investment, immigration, and regulatory frameworks—all crucial elements that impact their operations and growth strategies. The outcomes of these deliberations hold implications not only for the immediate business environment but also for broader issues such as diversity and inclusion, which are increasingly integral to corporate governance and societal impact.

Business leaders optimistic about new leadership

Chairman from Pickfords, Yogesh Mehta from Pickfords said, “I like Keir Starmer's quote, Country first, party second. With that and the complete mandate from the people, the new government should focus on reviving the economy, deal with social issues such as housing and combat crime. I hope they will re-look at non-dom and trusts to ensure that foreign entrepreneurs are not driven away from this country and find a way to ensure they remain here and continue to contribute to the UK economy.”
Sharing thoughts about the new UK government impact on business climate, Mitesh Vekaria, Chartered Surveyor and Director of Vascroft Contractors Ltd  said, “Change was necessary, and a new government can bring fresh ideas and perspectives. The most notable shift is the immediate focus on tackling housing and planning shortages to spur economic growth. The previous government's inefficiencies in the planning process stifled economic development. If land cannot be developed, it disrupts the entire economic flow. Developers, demotivated by these blockages, hold onto sites without progress, and the housing crisis worsens, affecting refugees and others in need. Keir Starmer's team can address these issues promptly, with further focus on immigration, development and more. British Asian businesses, significant contributors to the UK economy, continue to grow and prosper, undergoing generational shifts as the second generation takes the helm.”

Election impact on British Asian SMEs

Dr Bharat Shah CBE, founder of Sigma, highlights that the election outcome will significantly impact the economic environment for small and medium enterprises within the British Asian community. He said, “The British Asian community in the UK is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, actively opening new businesses and investing in existing ones. However, in recent years, especially post-Brexit and amid financial crises, British Asian-owned small and medium-sized businesses have faced challenges like employee shortages, funding difficulties from banks, safety concerns, and increased regulatory burdens, all impacting their growth. I hope the new government fosters a positive business environment, avoiding tax hikes that could discourage investment. Lower inflation and interest rates would support small and medium businesses. Strengthened ties with the EU would particularly benefit sectors like pharmaceutical distribution and manufacturing, community pharmacies, and public well-being. Majority of Independent Community Pharmacies in GB are owned by British Asian communities and they are not in a ‘good shape’ financially as previous Governments over the last few years have not supported the sector and ‘starved’ the sector of adequate funding. Pharmacists are required to do more for less money and their funding has not kept up with the public demand for health care. Hence we have seen closures of Community Pharmacies. The new government has pledged support and funding for our sector. I hope they reconsider the 'Hub & Spoke' model in Community Pharmacy, which could lead to more closures. The previous government rushed its approval without financial assessments. I urge the new government to thoroughly debate this legislation and listen to all Pharmacy Groups & Bodies before implementing changes that could result in widespread pharmacy closures. The election results mandate strong support for small and medium businesses, mainly owned by British Asian communities. These businesses are crucial for employment in rural and urban areas, offering essential services with extended operating hours. With numerous British Asian MPs elected, a favourable tax regime is anticipated to stimulate business growth and cater to their needs effectively.

Operations Director of The Mortgage Stop, Rohit Kohli  said, “The British Asian community, known for its vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, stands at a pivotal point with the new Labour government in place. The election outcome could significantly influence the economic environment for SMEs. If the government prioritises support for small businesses through targeted grants, tax reliefs, and improved access to financing, it could create a thriving landscape for SMEs. It's crucial that the government acknowledges the unique challenges faced by minority-owned businesses, including those within the British Asian community. Tailored support measures can ensure these businesses not only survive but flourish. The focus should be on creating an inclusive economy where SMEs have equal opportunities to grow, innovate, and contribute to the broader UK economy.”

“As a community-focused business, we urge the new government to prioritise key areas for economic growth. Addressing housing affordability, simplifying SME funding access, providing tax incentives for reinvestment, maintaining balanced regulations, investing in skills development, and promoting diversity in business are crucial steps to foster innovation, expand opportunities, and ensure equitable economic progress for all,” he added. 

Speaking about particular policies or reforms that he hopes that the new government will prioritise, Mortgage Consultant from Trinity Finance, Amit Patel said, “The delivery of affordable housing is vital to boost growth and investment. We need energy efficient homes, with investment in community infrastructure in schools, transport and local amenities. The planning system needs to be overhauled. The new housing stock must be ‘genuinely affordable’ for ordinary people. Reform of the business rates system to help revitalise high streets up and down the country. The system is not fit for purpose. We need to have a level playing field between high street firms and online retailers, big multinationals and tech companies must pay their fair share. By levelling the playing field, it will rejuvenate high street shopping areas and support local economies. Local businesses are pivotal to the UK economy and Labour must do everything they can to help them prosper and grow.”

UK election results impacting the housing market

Speaking about the recent UK election results impacting the housing market in your region, Executive Director of The Kushman Group, Kundan Bhaduri said, “A change in government has more often than not resulted in an increase in market activity and increase in house prices as well. However, Labour came to power on the back of solving the housing crisis. It remains to be seen what different policy measures the new government will bring to incentive for-profit housebuilders to build more homes with private money. For Labour, this capitalist ropewalk will be a real predicament, given its socialist roots.”

Kundan stated that the rental market will be going through a major flux over the next couple of years. He said, “With Labour firmly in the driving seat, a new avatar of the Renters Reform Bill will be introduced soon, albeit more stringent and tilted in favour of the tenants. More landlords will consequently leave the market, causing supply to dwindle further in the face of ever increasing housing demand. This will likely lead to rent control measures in England, similar to the failed experiment in Scotland, causing further pain for landlords. The added costs will be passed down to tenants, resulting in sustained, record-breaking rental price increases year-over-year.”

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter