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24 November 2015

  |  CBI Press Team

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DG: protect innovation & infrastructure #CSR15

Businesses are calling on the Government to protect areas of growth-enhancing spending and to beware of overloading businesses with additional costs ahead of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement.

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While recognising that tough spending decisions are needed to balance the books, Britain’s leading business group is urging the Treasury to safeguard expenditure on infrastructure and innovation that will contribute to growing productivity, which is vital for increasing prosperity in all parts of the UK.

Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s new Director-General, has placed increasing regional growth among her top priorities as she begins her five year term.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “Companies up and down the UK know the Government faces tough choices and support the Chancellor’s continued focus on deficit reduction.

“But by protecting productivity-enhancing spending, for example on innovation and infrastructure, we can create the conditions that will help businesses in Britain thrive. This in turn will enable future investment in health, education and other vital public services we all care about.

“With Government innovation spending the lowest in the G8, we need to ensure loans and equity finance options should only be used where they can be seen to work and not as a cost-cutting exercise. It’s important to look at what support works on the ground, particularly for smaller companies.

“Ultimately, companies will be looking for clarity on a range of issues, from the apprenticeship levy to business rates, and we would urge the Government to beware the cumulative burden of these policies on businesses.”

The CBI is calling on the Government to:

  • Break ground on infrastructure projects, such as the Manchester to Leeds TransPennine line, to boost confidence among businesses looking for evidence that the recent slew of devolutions deals will lead to regional growth
  • Adopt a truly transformational approach to delivering public services to maintain high standards while remaining within spending limits. The CBI has already set out £16.3bn in savings that can be achieved by 2020 – measures include encouraging greater cross-departmental cooperation, and commercialising the Government Property Unit (GPU), which could save £4bn (See notes to editors)
  • Take steps to make the business rates regime simpler, fairer and less complex ahead of the business tax roadmap at budget 2016
  • Implement an apprentice levy system that ensures quality as well as quantity: with revenue ring-fenced for apprenticeships, the levy rate set at a level where committed businesses can recover their costs and an independent ‘Levy Board’ to base the system on sound economic evidence
  • Set out a coherent framework so innovation boosts the capacity of the economy to produce more in the long term
  • Continue cross-government efforts to promote exports.

Read the CBI’s full submissions to the Treasury ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review and the Autumn Statement here and here.

24 November 2015

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