Thank you to everyone for contributing, and I hope that Prelude and Growth Britain will continue to inspire business owners and start ups across the country to drive innovation and growth. Keep up the good work.

Lord Young, Enterprise Adviser to the
Prime Minister

Join the debate! Tell us what you would do to make Great Britain, Growth Britain and let us know which ideas you agree or disagree with.

Submit your idea.


Votes: 25 Dislikes: 4

Develop and widen UK (3G/4G) signal coverage

No part of this small island should be without usable signal. Solid signal is essential for on-the-fly business and the mobile networks in the South East (including Vodafone, Three and Orange) are extremely sketchy. When I travel to Norway I find my Vodafone phone picks up much better signal than when I'm at home on the South Coast (UK). We need to work on improving signal and rectifying 'dead zones' in and around the UK. Customers can do this by supporting high growth areas in this space (4G/5G); industry can help by the reinvestment of profits into infrastructure and government can assist with initiatives, if necessary. Once again, it's a small island and this should be a relatively simple problem to solve!
Jack Symons, Treetops BD | Wed 1st Jan 2014 at 23:03

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I agree that mobile signal is vital to effective communication (in life and business). In particular I thing the government should insist that as part of their license mobile carriers should ensure decent coverage on all main transportation routes. It is ridiculous that business calls can't be made from trains on main routes connecting out of London
Duncan Cheatle, Prelude and The Supper Club | Fri 10th Jan 2014 at 11:56

Absolutely, it's important that mobile phones are, in fact, mobile.
Jack Symons, Treetops BD | Thu 16th Jan 2014 at 14:53

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Votes: 360 Dislikes: 49

Legalise Cannabis

Currently the war on drugs is being lost and to be honest cannabis should not be involved in this war at all.

Cannabis could help grow the British economy.

It will create jobs, take away the unjust stigma, can easily be regulated, is taxable and would also help British agriculture and the high street.

With a simple system we could create a sustainable eco friendly business that benefits the UK economy and culture.

Terence Barnett, FestiveFridays | Sat 21st Dec 2013 at 18:34

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In Britain, CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform is working to end the stupid and unwinnable war against cannabis and cannabis users. The £500 million we spend every year on cannabis law enforcement is causing far more harm to our communities than it prevents.

Illegal cannabis farms destroy rented property, steal electricity, exploit human trafficked gardeners and blight communities with street dealing. There has been a massive increase in the last few years. 7,660 were discovered in 2010/11 and there is no sign of any slowing down. Cannabis prices have escalated to nearly £15 per gram.

CLEAR has proposed a properly regulated system of production and supply which would minimise all these problems and create thousands of new jobs. We'd have no more dealers on the streets. Cannabis would be available to adults only through licensed outlets and we'd have some control over its content and who it is sold to.

Doctors would be able to prescribe one of the most effective medicines that has no serious side effects at all. At the moment the government has given GW Pharmaceuticals an unlawful monopoly on cannabis so they export Sativex all over the world at a vastly inflated price when anyone can grow the equivalent at home for pennies.

A legally regulated system would solve nearly all the problems around cannabis. Science proves how much safer it is than tobacco, alcohol, all prescription and OTC medicines. More than that, experts now recognise that for most adults, in moderation, cannabis is actually good for you. It acts as a supplement to the endocannabinoid system and helps to protect against autoimmune conditions such as diabetes and cancer. It is also neuroprotective and helpful in the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

CLEAR published independent, expert research in 2011 which shows that a tax and regulate policy on cannabis would produce a net gain to the UK economy of up to £9.3 billion per annum.

Peter Reynolds, CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform | Sat 21st Dec 2013 at 20:11

Lorem ipsum facto blah.
Ben Harvey, Storm Creative | Fri 9th Mar 2018 at 15:22

Ben Harvey, Storm Creative | Fri 9th Mar 2018 at 15:22

Lorem 2
Ben Harvey, Storm Creative | Fri 9th Mar 2018 at 15:22

Thank you for the comments Peter.
I hope my initiative can support yours in the near future.
Please share and vote.
Terence Barnett, FestiveFridays | Sun 22nd Dec 2013 at 03:26

So how can CLEAR support you on this?

I see this idea has more support than any other. Often the case when the public are asked for the law reform they would most like to see. When it comes to it though, just as with Obama's online Q&As, the subject always gets dismissed as if it's something trivial.

Forgive my cynicism but Lord Young isn't going to invite anyone to discuss this round the table at No 10.

Why? Because Cameron and the government have no valid argument against it. Cannabis prohibition is based on lies, misinformation and a corrupt relationship with the press and GW Pharmaceuticals. That's why the only way they can deal with the issue is by ignoring it or trying to ridicule it.

Government ministers are quite blatant about it. In writing they simply refuse AS A MATTER OF POLICY to meet anyone campaigning for cannabis law reform..

The only way we will overturn this absurd policy is either through the courts or when the USA's far more effective democracy has legalised in so many states that it can no longer be ignored.

Peter Reynolds, CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform | Sun 22nd Dec 2013 at 15:13


I respect your opinion.

In response to your comments, I'm not campaigning for a cannabis law reform, Only presenting a feasible way I could make Britain more enterprising and present a variety of innovative ideas to back this up.
If it is this idea that has the best contribution or creates the biggest impact and gets me to Parliament, it will be on my agenda to discuss these possibilities as we both know it is one feasible way to Grow the British Economy and I would like to hear their opinion due to a long-lived interest on this matter.

Honestly though, It will take far more than one idea to grow our economy, we need to prepare for and find solutions to various major issues we face and my ideas address some of the most serious problems, presenting viable solutions.

Please take a look at these ideas;

These are sustainable, innovative and feasible ideas I have entered and wish to present to Lord Young.
As such In the nature of this opportunity i'm merely using democracy to gain support and the opportunity to present these ideas which may not be as popular in terms of votes as this or some other ideas, but in terms of feasibility and growth, are far more realistic and appealing to the Government which your comments outline.

If you could share this with your followers and get your followers to vote, this will help us both as you will have published data to quantify the importance of what you are doing and it will help me present various sustainable Business ideas to make Great Britain. Growth Britain.

Thank you for the comments and contribution.
Terence Barnett, FestiveFridays | Mon 23rd Dec 2013 at 03:58

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Votes: 20 Dislikes: 13

Make The UK a 4 or 5 centre economy

Currently our economy is very heavily focussed on London and the south east, areas where continued sustainable growth is becoming restricted by infrastructure and space. one of the key differentiators between the UK and other major economies is that for example the USA, China, Japan, Germany all have a multi-centred economy.

Only through the development of the economies of the midlands, the north west, the north east, south wales and central Scotland can we reduce over-reliance on London and the south east. then we can look at the map of the UK in a different geographic economic context: fast rail to London, or new runways at Heathrow might be de-prioritised in favour of the development of infrastructure to support industrial development in the North East, or fast inter-city rail between Newcastle and Liverpool.

if we continue to look at the map of the UK economically as the BBC represents it in weather forecasts, we will continue to have a divided economy and will miss out on the opportunity to focus more of our economic development on the part of Europe that started entrepreneurialism.

Dan Sutherland, Carrenza | Fri 20th Dec 2013 at 18:26

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I agree with putting emphasis elsewhere than London but how do you support industrial development? and is inner-city rail not going to be a costly and timely plan such as HS2?

Terence Barnett, FestiveFridays | Sat 21st Dec 2013 at 15:44

The way you support any other sector, by providing funding, incentives and help to viable projects. You misread me, I said intercity rail, yes expensive, but essential for a multi-centre economy to work.
Dan Sutherland, Carrenza | Thu 26th Dec 2013 at 00:11

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Votes: 22 Dislikes: 8

HS2 and UK Internet framework

I hope HS2 stops being thought about and let's get on with it. The spin offs for all sectors will be enormous. ** Please ensure 'someone' installs an Optical fibre Main trunk route on the HS2 rail route. This is default engineering in Sweden and will bring mega speeds into the rural areas.
Robert Tate, Mascus International Used marketplace | Thu 19th Dec 2013 at 12:00

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Votes: 10 Dislikes: 1

L E Ps

This government tried to reform the old Regional Development Agencies. The current LEPs that were set up to replace them are remote and without "presence" in the areas they are meant to serve.

My idea is that in each Borough city or district that can manage it a core entity is set up to review and find worthwhile enterprises that are genuinely going to bring jobs in. They are funded to assess and incubate the good projects.

They will use local advisors as much as possible to vet projects and develop a locally based case for this development.

Once they are in consideration the Local entity seeks to obtain LEP support and funding. In return for the the community gets a 10% or 20% or whatever stake in the new entity , from which it is hoped profits will be received after either 3 or 5 years. HMG will mandate RBS or LLoyds to support these enterprises by making reasonable funding offers. HMG will find a means to guarantee these loans

Other local businesses will be encouraged to partner up with these projects including tax reliefs for investment using SEIS and EIS.
The HMG BIS will guarantee 25% to 100% of any funding raised depending on projects with enterprises manufacturing British goods qualifying for R&D and Patent box reliefs as well as getting maximum funding. Monthly & Quarterly accounts and regular monitoring will required to protect against overspends and control failures.

Special emphasis will be given to projects rehabilitating or reopening former industrial premises so that local youth can be given apprenticeship opportunities.

Each of these new businesses will be set up as either a CIC or a limited company with a commitment to retain employee skills by enfranchising staff by the use of staff share schemes and stock options.
For the first year they will allowed to reclaim VAT paid out without paying any VAT on its sales and this VAT would only be recovered by HMRC, if the company closes within five

Ewan hayes, hayestax limited | Tue 3rd Dec 2013 at 19:49

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Votes: 26 Dislikes: 9

Priorities: Screw the HS2

Let's get the existing rail networks working (i.e. affordability, reliability and regularity) before we embark on this mammoth project.
Jack Symons, Treetops BD | Tue 3rd Dec 2013 at 14:18

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OK Jack, so reliability is a function of capacity. There are numerous pinch points on the existing network which would need to be addressed, but you still aren't dealing with the fundamental issue which is the existing railway network was designed for the Victorian age and not the 21st century. Say you have a double-track connection, as in between Birmingham and Milton Keynes on the WCML. It is running at almost full capacity now. But along that line are local stations which you need to service with commuter trains. Every time one of those stops, the fast Inter City train has to slow down or stop behind it. Shall we add another set of lines? Can you imagine the cost and disruption that that would cause ? HS2 on the cheap? I don't think so.

I find it ironic that when the French were building their high speed network, local authorities were begging to have the line pass through their region and stop because they could see the huge benefits it would bring. Foresight aplenty there, but not in the blinkered UK.

Projects of this magnitude cannot happen overnight.

Simon Clark, SJC Systems Limited | Sun 8th Dec 2013 at 22:19

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Votes: 138 Dislikes: 10

Rail for Business

As a startup, we have found travel to be a barrier to our business. Car travel is expensive and doesn't allow you to work en-route. Train travel is extortionately priced, mobile phone signal is poor, wifi signal is poor and expensive, standard class carriages are overcrowded and it's impossible to travel at peak times on a budget. Our travel expenses are a real strain on the business and we have to spend a lot of time planning travel in advance, often having to travel down the previous evening, car-sharing or not taking meetings at all.

Whilst online call conference platforms are improving, there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. Therefore, I propose that work is done to dramatically improve UK train travel for business. Why trains? - If we provide the right conditions, people can be very productive whilst travelling via train. Instead of being a barrier to business, trains should be a facilitator by allowing cost-effective, stress-free travel and a positive working environment.

I would suggest the mandatory introduction of 'business class' to trains connecting major UK cities. These extra carriages are equipped with strong wifi, ample power sockets, and good quality mobile phone signal. Users would have the choice of a single workstation or a team workstation if travelling in a group. Business class would be offered to all business sizes but heavily subsidised for startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses. Also, those receiving subsidies would not be penalised for travelling at peak times as they are in the current system.

By making train travel easy, cost-effective and productive, we can encourage business people to travel in a working environment, take advantage of opportunities and expand their businesses. Let's get Britain's small businesses moving!

Sam Ryan, JumpIn | Mon 2nd Dec 2013 at 14:26

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TRUE!! I've got a real bee in my bonnet about how unreasonably priced rail infrastructure is affecting the UK economy. I'm actively turning away clients who require me to travel - not just because of the money but because of the inevitability of delays and wasted time.
Jack Symons, Treetops BD | Tue 3rd Dec 2013 at 14:17

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Votes: 10 Dislikes: 3

Centralised Nationwide Entrepreneur/Investor/Service Provider Database

For Great Britain to grow, the member of the "new and emerging business" ecosystems need know that each other exist.

Countless business deals, strategic partnerships and venture opportunities go potentially missing and in some cases abroad. It is time that an online exchange platform be developed so businesses in Great Britain's cities, towns, villages and regions can DIRECTLY communicate and TRANSACT BUSINESS.

Growth = Opportunity Execution

David Blumenstein, TEKWORKS | Mon 2nd Dec 2013 at 07:43

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Votes: 12 Dislikes: 3

Controlling Traffic at Accidents

Too much time is lost to industry when traffic/rail is halted due to an accident. There are too many incidents of many hours lost to business. There should be traffic control teams and the wreckage etc removed sooner.
Traffic should be allowed to use the hard shoulder to pass an incident which very rarely needs the whole road. Traffic should be warned before reaching a jammed roadway.
Accidents should be shielded to prevent rubbernecking
It should not be underestimated, the damage that is done to industry by stopping key staff getting to meetings, deliveries being made, staff getting to/from work and the stress caused regularly

Ann Dempster, Plum Software | Sun 1st Dec 2013 at 00:51

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Votes: 26 Dislikes: 3

The national train 'service'

We have one of the most expensive train services in the world. The fact that it’s both privatised and monopolised means tickets are often set at prices way beyond what everyday commuters can afford. Even after paying up to £60 to get into London from the South Coast (say, Littlehampton), you aren’t necessarily guaranteed a seat.

Then there’s the confusion about which trains you can and can’t board - East Coast, Southern Railway, etc. This often results in unwarranted and unreasonable fines.

As a self-employed business owner I tend to do a fair amount of commuting - and this is one of my highest expenses, which I can fortunately write off against my tax bill. Those who commute for full-time employment are paying up to a third of their NET salary on transport (and cannot write it off against tax). How this is this fair?

Maybe the ‘cork can’t be put back in the bottle’ in terms of deregulation/privatisation but there are several possible initiatives I can think of which would help frequent commuters reach their place of work at a reasonable price. In the meantime, all measures to dissuade commuters from driving cars are, arguably, both useless and passive aggressive.

Firstly, I’d say anyone in full time employment should be able to write off transport/travel against tax.

Secondly, no seat = refund.

Although the privatised ‘services’ are run by private companies, I believe the government can pay a much stricter role supervising private sector public services and holding them closer to account - next up Post Office…

What other initiatives could help ensure we get a fairer deal on transport and ensure the taxpayer or ‘lifeblood of the British economy’ are treated better when it comes to the UK rail infrastructure?

Jack Symons, Treetops BD | Fri 29th Nov 2013 at 19:17

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Votes: 10 Dislikes: 2

North Shoring

We have seen many countries encouraging us to outsource multiple functions overseas, from call centre, development and manufacturing.

Sometimes this is due to skills shortages or cost benefits, however why are we not utilising the spare capacity we have in the many towns and counties outside the main trading hubs.

These towns and communities are losing young people to university towns who never return as employees or entrepreneurs. The demographic of the towns become young low income and ageing heavy. The wealth creators have gone never to return.

Identify the towns and communities that have property, people, skills and desire to improve then through initiatives and awareness encourage businesses to use this capacity within the UK.

Gary Smith, Prism | Thu 28th Nov 2013 at 09:42

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Votes: 373 Dislikes: 14

Make Funding a Sustainable Business

Grant funding is unsustainable, there are hundreds of different grant initiatives through-out the UK, but how is their impact measured in the long term?

Grant money is given away, spent and often lacks any form of accountability.

If 50% of businesses fail in their first year how many of them those businesses have been grant funded, and how much of that funding is wasted?

I believe that for sustainable business to be fostered all funding should be given in the form of loans, with low or zero interest. This would ensure that business are using money to grow and their spending decision will be based on the knowledge that they must repay the borrowed capital. This will foster better financial planning and repayment statistics will provide the much needed clarity on the effectiveness of early stage funding in the long term!

£1million of grant funding is distributed but then the fund has run out, however a £1million loan fund is repaid meaning that the capital can then be re-distributed to new companies in need of funding. This is immensely more beneficial in the long term.

It's time StartUps stopped chasing free money and started focusing on real growth.

It's time the government focused on sustainable business growth by abolishing grant funding!

Sam Zawadzki, AdvancetoGO | Wed 27th Nov 2013 at 13:23

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Great idea in terms of for-profit business - if it makes more funding available and better use of that funding. However I think grants are needed for non-profit projects; arts, conservation etc create value in ways that are difficult to quantify in the short term and shouldn't be expected to return loans!

Iain Robinson, POY | Sun 12th Jan 2014 at 17:09

This Idea is outrageous.
The government already have start-up initiatives which are Loans and do exactly what your are suggesting.
As for abolishing/Cutting Grants?

I would do more to promote the grants so the 500,000 start-ups in 2013 may not be 250.000 by 2015 they may 300,000 and in the future an improvement on that. All due to having that non refundable cash injection!

Making it harder to access financing and money in the most volatile stage of business is not wise.

The government and organisations who give out the grants could do more to vet applicants and insure the money is spent on the purpose of the loan.

Saying that you will find that most Start-Up initiatives give business mentors and supply on-going support to do this.

Terence Barnett, FestiveFridays | Sun 19th Jan 2014 at 04:55

I work with very early start-ups when even sometimes very small amounts of money can be a real help in the early stages of their businesses so to remove any access to grants would be a disaster.
I believe there should be more schemes providing small grants for very early stage businesses, especially for students who probably already have massive loans to complete their studies, they should not be encouraged to take out additional loans to start a business unless that loan has a zero interest rate and over 10 years to pay it back!
Marina Pickles, Loughborough University | Wed 29th Jan 2014 at 14:34

Hi Terence & Marina,

Thanks for your comments guys! I think it is great to get some discussion on the go :)

The most important consideration of my argument is that money given in grants can only be given once. Money given in loans can be given again and again.

Give 500,000 starts ups £1 and you have spent £500,000. Interest free loan 500,000 £1 for one year then next year you have that £500,000 to give to more start ups in need of funding.

The sad truth is most businesses fail because they can't sell their product or service. Giving them money to launch a business that fails is counter intuitive. If they have no liability to pay the money back then they don't have to worry so much if the venture fails. Ensuring they had to pay the money back means they would spend it much more wisely.

Marina, I agree maybe the loans should be interest free and set over a long scale in time. The point is that the money should be paid back not given away!

Thanks, Sam
Sam Zawadzki, AdvancetoGO | Thu 30th Jan 2014 at 13:54

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Votes: 4 Dislikes: 2

Rail electrification

Projects already in the advanced planning stage, such as the Great Western main line and the Midland Mainline should be accelerated to implement a continuous roll-out of electrification across the network. Diesel-powered locomotion should be restricted to freight as a matter of urgency, and ultimately eradicated completely. TOCs should be incentivised to support the replacement of rolling stock by extending their operating leases, as long as they meet the targets set by the regulator. Electrification of cross-country and branch lines needs to be included in this plan to ensure that new routes are made available to the travelling public whilst also enabling the routing of heavy freight trains away from heavily-populated conurbations. I would conclude by mentioning the re-opening of lines such as the Great Central to provide the capacity needed until HS2 happens.
Simon Clark, SJC Systems Limited | Tue 26th Nov 2013 at 21:59

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I'd be very interested to know the reasons behind someone disliking this proposal.
Simon Clark, SJC Systems Limited | Sun 8th Dec 2013 at 21:44

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Votes: 9 Dislikes: 2

Promote trams and light rail

Almost all major towns and cities in Great Britain once had trams or suburban rail networks. The Government should bring forward measures to promote these and support their installation through PPI or similar incentives. With the ultimate demise of petroleum-based vehicles, there needs to be a radical re-structuring of transport policy towards electric-powered modes of movement.
Simon Clark, SJC Systems Limited | Tue 26th Nov 2013 at 21:52

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Votes: 6 Dislikes: 1

Invest in infrastructure

Invest in infrastructure which is vital to stimulating growth. The Government needs to revisit its infrastructure plan (approx 80% of the projects in the pipeline announced are yet to begin) and also to understand why only one company, Drax, has taken advantage of the Governments guarantee scheme. The guarantee scheme needs to be combined with incentives to implement the pipeline plan.
Priya Lakhani, Century Tech | Tue 26th Nov 2013 at 20:30

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Votes: 8 Dislikes: 3

Re-establish the Enterprise Development Agencies

Re-establish the enterprise development agencies across GB, or at least in multiple focus areas, in a similar fashion as Invest NI or the Scottish Development Agency. These agencies are working extremely well to attract new enterprises and offer assistance in the form of practical and financial support.
Paul Carson, Straight Communications | Wed 20th Nov 2013 at 18:16

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Votes: 276 Dislikes: 2

Hi-Speed Internet Access Throughout the UK

In certain parts of the UK internet connection is so poor that people can’t get online or use emails, it’s as slow as dial-up. It effects business and means they can’t possibly have a competitive edge. Ensure everyone has the tools and access to operate and compete fairly.
Andrew Cameron-Webb, Sosius | Tue 19th Nov 2013 at 10:15

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It's hard to believe there are places without connectivity.
Jane Gomez, Prelude | Tue 19th Nov 2013 at 11:36

Believe it! I go upstairs to get a feeble mobile signal of which to run my work, as the ISP is often too slow to use online apps. True in Kent, true in Co DOwn
Peter Massey, Budd UK Ltd | Tue 26th Nov 2013 at 22:58

I use my UK Vodafone phone abroad in Norway and the coverage is far better than South East England. I'm talking way up in the Norwegian mountains as well!
Jack Symons, Treetops BD | Fri 29th Nov 2013 at 19:23

Although I support this and understand the frustration of bad signal, but the installation of fiber optics would not be cost effective. Basically, the time it would take to lay fiber optics, 5g will probably be available which will solve this problem.

Terence Barnett, FestiveFridays | Fri 20th Dec 2013 at 01:34

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