Ahead of the Chancellor’s Spring Budget on March 16, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is urging the government to avoid introducing new taxes, costs and obligations that could dent business confidence in a softening economic environment.
The business group urges the Chancellor to use his fourth fiscal event in 12 months to opt for a steady approach that gives businesses, individuals, and government itself the time needed to work through existing commitments and reforms. BCC seeks three commitments from the Chancellor at the Budget:
- No new taxes on businesses or entrepreneurs for the remainder of this parliament. Pensions auto-enrolment, the National Living Wage, the apprenticeship levy, higher dividend taxes and other measures have significantly increased up-front burdens for business;
- Deliver the long-overdue business rates reform by April 2017, and focus on resetting the valuation, collection, and setting of the rates, as opposed to changing who gets to keep and spend the revenue;
- Address shortcomings at HMRC to support, not undermine, business growth. BCC wants HMRC focused on supporting businesses, particularly SMEs, and making compliance easier – rather than heavy – handed enforcement campaigns.
Dr Adam Marshall, BCC Acting Director General, said:
“In an increasingly uncertain economic environment, the Chancellor should avoid any and all moves that could damage business confidence. At a time when many businesses already face sharply higher costs and taxes, the Chancellor must avoid adding any new obligations on our firms.
“Ministers must also finally take action to ease the burden of business rates. Reform of the rates system is long overdue, and a source of uncertainty for companies everywhere.”