CBI responds to Autumn Budget
Against a sombre economic backdrop, chancellor Philip Hammond gripped the steering wheel on the UK economy.
Responding to the first Autumn Budget since 1996, CBI director-general, Carolyn Fairbairn, welcomed the targeted and specific action taken by the Chancellor to help grow the UK out of austerity.
Against a weaker economic outlook, and in line with the CBI’s own economic forecasts, the Autumn Budget was always going to be a difficult balancing act for the chancellor. But in his budget statement, Philip Hammond balanced support for people on squeezed incomes with critical action to help businesses grow.
Read the CBI’s full response to the Autumn Budget
Of the 69 announcements made by the Chancellor, immediate action on business rates – a long-standing CBI policy ask – improvement to the R&D tax credit and an £8 billion boost to the National Productivity Investment Fund will all help firms to invest in Britain’s future today. This targeted approach from the Chancellor was very much in line with the CBI’s pre-Budget submission to help the UK economy to grow out of austerity.
Other positives for the CBI included: increased funding for Brexit preparations, measures to improve the planning system to support increased housebuilding and the creation of a National Retraining Partnership to build a skills system that supports the 4th Industrial revolution.
See the CBI’s Autumn Budget scorecard
But it wasn’t all good news for business, with the government’s commitment to keep flexibility in the Apprenticeship Levy under review is helpful but does not go far enough. To really deliver more growth and higher pay, Carolyn argued that the levy needs to better-matched to businesses’ training needs as soon as possible.
Additionally, the Budget also saw announcements on tax that will concern many businesses. While
there remains a need to ensure our tax system keeps pace with technological advances, this is a complex topic that requires business input to mitigate against any unforeseen impacts. The government’s position paper on digital taxation shows that the UK wants to play a lead role in this global reform, but any decision to take unilateral action will only hamper these efforts and risks undermining UK competitiveness.
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