Chamber warns of economic impact
Business urges May to halt growing tax burden
Theresa May will be told to reduce the tax burden on businesses or risk stifling the economy, when one of Britain’s biggest business groups issues its election manifesto.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) wants the next government to call an end to new taxes on businesses which are already struggling to cope with additional costs such as the apprenticeship and climate change levies, as well as new pensions commitments and insurance premiums.
Mrs May is being targeted specifically as polls predict a Tory landslide on 8 June.
The BCC will warn this week: “Taxes on employment, premises, and overheads are sapping business investment and growth potential. Unchecked, they will act as a drag on their future productivity.”
It wants no new upfront taxes until 2022 and will step up its campaign for reforms of the business rates system.
“For UK businesses to compete globally, they need a competitive environment here at home,” the BCC will say.
“The myriad of upfront taxes and costs imposed in recent years – including increasing business rates, the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, and the hikes to insurance premium tax amongst others are all increasing the burden on firms before they even turn over a single pound.”
The BCC’s election manifesto will urge politicians in all parties to focus their attention on five key areas: Brexit, devolution, the business environment, infrastructure and trade.
Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, said: “While businesses all across the UK want a good Brexit deal, they are very clear that decisions taken here at home matter as much – if not more – to our future growth prospects. The best possible Brexit deal won’t be worth the paper it’s written on if firms cannot recruit and train the right people, get decent digital connectivity, or get their goods to their market.”
The BCC’s comments come after Mrs May ruled out a rise in VAT if re-elected, but did not offer guarantees on other taxes including national insurance and income tax.