With Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Budget looming, leading business groups have published their Autumn Budget wishlists, urging the government to consider including a range of business and tax measures in its plans for the UK economy.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called on the Chancellor to implement a number of measures intended to help the UK to ‘grow its way out of austerity’.
Included among the proposals is a call to ensure that business rates ‘incentivise productive investment’ by exempting new plant and machinery from rates bills, an appeal to redesign the Apprenticeship Levy framework (including new pilots for pooling levy funds locally to help SMEs) and a call to provide HMRC with the resources it needs to administer a real-time tax system that will ease the pressure on businesses.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged Mr Hammond to deliver a ‘Brexit-ready’ Budget, which rules out any new business tax increases and maintains investment incentives. It also recommends the introduction of new ‘exporting vouchers’, which UK small businesses could use in order to continue to trade overseas post-Brexit.
Commenting on speculation that the Chancellor could abolish the so-called business rates ‘staircase tax’ in the Autumn Budget, the FSB said that such a decision would ‘mark a victory for common sense’, adding that the tax has ‘heaped misery on thousands of small businesses that happen to occupy split workspaces’.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) also urged the Chancellor to address the UK’s business rates system, calling for the government to take ‘immediate action’ to halt the anticipated 3.9% increase in business rates valuations, set to occur in 2018.
The Institute of Directors (IoD), meanwhile, focused on the need for tax reforms, urging the Chancellor not to use Brexit as ‘an excuse for delaying much-needed reform’ of the UK tax system and other policies aimed at boosting business and the economy.
The IoD also called for a temporary increase in the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) from £200,000 to £1 million, and highlighted the importance of maintaining a low corporation tax rate as a way of signposting that Britain is ‘open for business’.
The Chancellor will deliver the Autumn Budget on Wednesday 22 November. Make sure you keep an eye on our website for coverage of the key announcements.