CBI say reform of business rates and no new tax burden essential for economic growth

Recent initiatives announced in George Osborne’s budgets have placed a £9 billion a year burden on UK businesses, and economic growth could be threatened were the chancellor to increase the costs to business further when he announces his budget next month, according to Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Fairbairn hopes the tax burden on UK businesses won't increase further

Fairbairn hopes the tax burden on UK businesses won't increase further

Recent initiatives announced in George Osborne’s budgets have placed a £9 billion a year burden on UK businesses, and economic growth could be threatened were the chancellor to increase the costs to business further when he announces his budget next month, according to Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Fairbairn was speaking at the CBI’s official pre-budget submission and commented that two recently introduced measures, the national living wage, and the apprenticeship levy will impose a total cost on UK business of £9 billion a year by 2020, but that, ‘our members have said they can tolerate this, but no more’, asserted Fairbairn.

Whilst gloomy forecasts regarding the economic health of the UK abound just now, Fairbairn commented that, in aggregate, UK businesses are still positive and making progress.

But she added that while businesses are in a positive frame of mind, concerns around the cost and impact of business rates continue to dominate their thinking.

Fairbairn commented, ‘From a broad range of businesses we hear that while the corporation tax changes have helped, the rise in business rates is something that needs to be addressed.

Fairbairn continued that a reform to business rates would help regenerate town centres, and also help to stimulate economic growth. She commented, ‘we support the chancellor’s aim to reduce the deficit over the cycle, we think the best way to do this is to go for growth, and reform of business rates would contribute to this.’

Fairbairn added that more frequent valuations of commercial premises would be a big step forward.

She continued that despite the political rhetoric around the need for banks to lend more to businesses, but Fairbairn, a former director of Lloyds Banking Group, opined that the problem for the banking sector is finding businesses who wish to borrow, rather than the other way around.