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CBI calls for business rates roadmap ahead of budget

The Confederation of British Industry has laid out a 10-point tax ‘roadmap’ ahead of the emergency budget Wednesday, which includes measures to tackle the “broken” business rates system.

Chancellor George Osborne will this week deliver the first all-Conservative budget for 19 years, with the axe expected to fall most heavily on benefits.

CBI director-general John Cridland said Osborne should use the opportunity to provide stability for companies “of all sectors and sizes”.

The body has created a 10-point business tax roadmap, which it says would provide further clarity across a range of business taxes, including business rates. A similar roadmap for corporate tax was set out five years ago and resulted in getting the tax to the joint lowest in the G20.

Among the key points, the industry body wants the government to develop a property-based tax system with reduced administration for both government and business.

“Positive strides have been made in recent years towards creating a competitive tax environment in which businesses pay their fair share. This must be built upon in the new parliament,” the CBI said.

“The government should publish a comprehensive business tax roadmap early on, which sets out the way ahead across a range of business taxes. Stability and certainty in tax policy are key ingredients to foster business investment and ensuring the UK is open for business.”

The CBI’s 10-point plan:

  • Build the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20
  • Develop a long-term solution to the broken business rates system
  • Advance the strategy for mid-sized businesses (MSBs) to ensure the tax system doesn’t act as a barrier to growth
  • Continued commitment to international tax reform whilst safeguarding the UK’s competitiveness
  • Remove complexities in the tax system so it’s fit for modern business
  • Set out a vision for employment taxes to support job creation and attract global talent
  • Minimise the burden on businesses collecting indirect taxes
  • Maintain a coherent business taxes regime that supports doing business across the UK single market
  • Enable HMRC to become a tax authority fit for 2020 with proper resources
  • Renewed commitment to good tax policy making principles, underpinning all of the above

During the course of this year, the CBI plans to publish a series of papers discussing these points in more detail.

It is also proposing an additional five-point action plan to boost productivity through supporting medium-sized businesses. This includes giving them greater access to long-term growth capital, backing vocational qualifications and increasing funding for government body UK Trade & Investment.

Cridland said the budget is an opportunity for the chancellor to “nail down a range of issues vital to the long-term health of the UK economy”.

“Top of his list should be creating stability and certainty that businesses crave. That means building on the gains made in the last parliament by locking in responsibility from the very beginning,” he added.

“We’re looking for detail on the fiscal rules the chancellor intends to live by and progress on a comprehensive business tax roadmap, to remove complexities and ensure it doesn’t act as barrier to firms with ambitions to scale up.”

@LukeToddUK

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