'The Government stands there with its hand out'

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The Independent Online

After creating a financial services firm, Chris Glenn, 42, wanted to become a serial entrepreneur, creating more new businesses. But because of the Chancellor's new punitive tax regime, he is considering ditching his ambition.

"My business partner is in mid-50s, and when he retires, I will have to decide whether to sell the business. I will not do this if a fifth of its value disappears in tax. This is a pity as I had considered using cash from a sale of the company to start a new one. I believe the ruling will strangle a lot of new ideas," he says.

Mr Glenn feels let down. "I have worked extremely hard, made many sacrifices, and gone without wages and holidays. And at the end of it, the Government is standing there with its hand out."

He has worked in financial services for more than 20 years and launched his firm as a partnership in 2001 before turning it into a limited company three years later. Today, AAT Associated and AAT Mortgage Solutions, based in Goole, East Yorkshire, employ 10 full-time staff. Mr Glenn and his team offer mortgages and independent financial advice. They are also starting to handle administration work for lenders such as credit searches, valuations and credit scoring.

In the coming year, the business expects to have a turnover of between £400,000 and £500,000 and to lend around £50m. It has grown by 50 per cent in the past year.

It had also hoped to open a second office and to move into new business lines. But Mr Glenn says the Chancellor's CGT hike has raised doubts in his mind. "It makes me think twice about expansion or starting a new business."

He suspects small firms have borne the brunt of the tax rise because they are an easy target. "There is a deficit in the country's finances and the Government has identified small business as a cash cow."

On the other hand, he adds, the Government has found larger companies too hard to tax. "It is, for example, very difficult for small businesses to look at locating abroad, while big ones have this option."

Mr Glenn believes that if it the new CGT regime remains in place, it will stifle enterprise. "I think the 18 per cent tax will stop serial entrepreneurs. The Government doesn't seem to have thought this through at all."

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