ISP appeals for tax incentives to boost sales training

ISP appeals for tax incentives to boost sales training
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The Institute of Sales Professionals (ISP) is encouraged by the Chancellor’s promise in his Spring Statement to look at tax incentives to boost vocational training and is urging the government to focus on professional sales skills and qualifications.

The ISP has been calling on the government to intervene to close the skills gap and promote a more business-like attitude towards selling, and the Institute is hoping the Chancellor’s announcement is a step in the right direction.

In his speech to MPs, Rishi Sunak said that to lift growth and productivity the UK needed the private sector to “train more, invest more, and innovate more”.

To create a “new culture of enterprise” the Chancellor will be setting out tax-cutting options on business investment and innovation. His final decisions will be announced in the Autumn Budget, but over the summer the Treasury will be tackling what Mr Sunak called “significant and complex questions.. to get the answers right.”

When it comes to adult technical skills, the UK lags behind its international peers.

The Chancellor said that just 18% of 25-64 year-olds hold vocational qualifications, a third lower than the OECD* average. And UK employers spend just half the European average on training their employees.

“So,” he commented, “we will consider whether the current tax system, including the operation of the Apprenticeship Levy is doing enough to incentivise businesses to invest in the right kinds of training.”

Andrew Hough, CEO of the Institute of Sales Professionals said the Chancellor’s promise to review what can be done to help business invest in the right training was a welcome move.

Andrew Hough commented: “Investment in innovation and development can create great products and solutions but it is salespeople who are at the sharp end. They will sell what is made in the UK to the world, and we need to give them the training and tools to do the best possible job. In the end, what we sell is key to tackling the UK’s debt.”**

“In two reports to parliament, the ISP has identified a critical shortage of professional salespeople that affects SMEs in particular. Our research has also highlighted a negative attitude in Britain towards selling that is holding the economy back, so anything that will help business to develop ethical and professional sales skills is good for British enterprise.

“There will be many positive benefits if businesses are given the support to invest in sales training. Britain’s capability to trade nationally and internationally will be strengthened; businesses and the communities they work with will benefit; and tax revenues will be boosted to support our vital public services.”


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It is a forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members.

UK debt is currently 103.7% of gross domestic product (GDP).

See our parliamentary reports, compiled for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Professional Sales:

1 The Missing Link
2. Supercharging Sales

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