Small Island with Big Ideas That Make It Economic Powerhouse
Byline: DYLAN JONES-EVANS Economic adviser to the Welsh Conservative Party
WHILST roughly the size of Anglesey, the island economy of Singapore has a population of over 5.2 million people.
And whilst Ynys Mon continues to be one of the poorest parts of the UK, the Singaporean economy is lauded as one of the most competitive and innovative in the world.
Why is this the case? The Singapore economy did not escape the worst of the recent recession and as a regular visitor to this fantastic nation, I was shocked to see hundreds of container ships lying empty in the world's busiest harbour as low global demand meant no-one was buying their goods any more.
Yet, there is optimism that they are finally on the road to recovery.
For example, whilst the UK economy shrank by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2012, the Singapore economy grew 1.5 per cent.
And with an increasing focus on supportive new growth industries as the way forward for its economy, the Singapore government is ensuring that it invests in supporting the development of disruptive technologies such as robotics and 3D printing that will be changing the future of advanced manufacturing over the next few years.
However, it would seem the real key to the future success of such a small economy is making the most of what it has already and, unlike many European countries, there has been a When British companies of all sizes are crying out for better trained staff, why hasn't the UK Treasury considered a similar tax measure? massive emphasis on improving productivity not only for individual companies but also for specific industries.
This has been achieved mainly through their Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) initiative, which was recently highlighted by the innovator James Dyson as the key reason for his company's presence in Singapore.
In the UK, tax relief on research and development (R&D) expenditure is limited to 225 per cent for Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the costs that qualify are strictly controlled. …