The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called George Osborne’s Budget, announced today, a “strong and stable Budget for business facing global stormy waters”.
CBI director general, Carolyn Fairbairn, said: “The Chancellor has listened to our concerns about the mounting burden on firms and chosen to back business to grow the economy out of the deficit.
“Businesses will welcome the Chancellor’s permanent reforms to business rates – taking more small firms out of the regime and changing the uprating mechanism from RPI to CPI, which the CBI has long been calling for.
“The reduction in the headline Corporation Tax rate sends out a strong signal that the UK is open for global business investment, and reforms to Interest Deductibility are rightly in line with international consensus.
“Changes to the tax treatment of losses will make it harder for larger scale-up firms and companies that have been through tough times to play their part in the recovery.
“Progress on some key infrastructure projects, from HS3 to 5G, are positive. Investors and companies will be encouraged by the greater clarity and simplification of the Government’s energy policy.”
“It’s good to see Government preparing the way for the next generation of major UK infrastructure upgrades. Preparation is essential for these projects so that once we take the decision to build we are able to avoid any delays.
“With the digital revolution in full swing, mobile connectivity is one of its key drivers. The decision to follow the advice of CBI members by prioritising 5G on the agenda of the National Infrastructure Commission is a welcome step in fulfilling the UK’s digital ambitions.”
On regional growth
“Devolution is continuing apace in both rural and urban areas, with positive new announcements from East Anglia to the West of England. As a key player in the Northern Powerhouse, much of Yorkshire remains notably absent from these deals.
“It will be important for both central and local Government to focus on creating economic growth. Success will rely on a new era of co-operation between Ministers, local leaders and firms of all sizes and sectors.”
On business rates
“In addition to small firms being taken out of the regime and changes to the uprating mechanism, all companies will welcome more frequent revaluations, which the CBI has long been calling for.”
On support for growing businesses
“The Budget included a number of useful measures to encourage entrepreneurship and growth, particularly cuts to capital gains tax and the extension of Entrepreneurs’ Relief. New allowances for micro-entrepreneurs will encourage participation in the sharing economy and encourage the growth of new and innovative platforms.”
On energy policy
“The CBI called for the regulatory landscape for business energy efficiency to be simplified. So this is a positive step, focusing efforts on investment and not compliance.
“Extending the current level of the Carbon Price Support in the short term is sensible, as is the commitment to clarify long-term plans for this tax later this year.
“Support for the oil and gas industry is positive – helping key UK employers facing very challenging operating conditions.”
On sugar tax
“Businesses recognise that more needs to be done to tackle childhood obesity. This new ‘sugar tax’ will require proper consultation on how it will work and companies will want assurances that this approach doesn’t represent the thin edge of the wedge.
“Building on the steps they are already taking to reduce sugar in their products, the industry will continue to engage with the Government on effective strategies to address this issue.”
“Companies will be surprised to see no further measures to support innovation and R&D in this Budget. Manufacturers in particular will be looking for further details in the Government’s upcoming National Innovation Plan.”
“Providing high quality saving for retirement requires support from companies. The Chancellor was right to heed CBI advice and step back from damaging changes to the pensions tax system, and to extend the support available to firms who choose to offer financial advice to their staff.”
“Improving education is the most effective way to raise living standards and businesses will welcome the move to ensure Maths is taught up to the age of 18.
“Freeing up schools to innovate is a move in the right direction, but changes to structures alone will not deliver better outcomes for pupils and schools.
“Extra investment for apprenticeships will only help the small minority for firms who will be able to spend their whole levy. Businesses remain concerned that only a year away from the introduction of the levy, there is little clarity about how the system will work.”