A key plank of the government's Green Budget drive to foster entrepreneurship will do little more than push up fees for accountants, practitioners have warned. Gordon Brown's pledge to raise employee share ownership by introducing a comprehensive all-employee scheme from April 2000 was criticised by accountants from across the profession who see it as an extra burden on small companies. BDO Stoy Hayward tax partner Mark Lee said: 'We have the headline but the detail is always vastly more complicated than it needs to be and it means that people do not get the benefits they are supposed to. Most entrepreneurs would like to be able to pay their accountants less.' This view was echoed from other advisers who added that the cost of setting up new schemes meant a field day for accountants but little for the business. The Green Budget also promised a network of regional venture capital funds of at least £10m each across the UK, coupled with a corporate venture tax incentive, and research and a development tax credit - a sweetener to encourage experienced business managers to take the plunge and move to more high-risk enterprises. Under this scheme, companies would be able to offer up to ten employees options over shares with a favourable tax rate, but PricewaterhouseCoopers tax partner Barry Watson said that entrepreneurs were 'control freaks' who did not like to give up shares in the company. The government once again reiterated its pledge to review corporate insolvency and personal bankruptcy, and to stimulate enterprise in deprived areas by taking forward a £30m programme to provide better access to finance.
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