Tackle the rising cost of tax and regulation

Tackle the rising cost of tax and regulation

The UK cannot afford to ignore the climbing costs of doing business

Businesses’ tax contributions play a vital role in funding our schools, hospitals and public services. But when government departments create polices in silos; when taxes and levies continually rise; and complex regulation is introduced without cohesion, it makes it harder and harder to do business in the UK.

The change we’re calling for

The rising costs imposed by government on business affect firms of every size, in every sector and region of the UK. That’s why we’re campaigning for the government to halt further increases in the weight of tax and regulation, and to provide UK organisations with certainty and a single strategy so they can plan for the future.

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    Government departments must stop working in silos and take a holistic approach when taxing and regulating business

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    Halt any further increases in the cumulative burden of tax and regulation on business

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    Establish ways to monitor the rising burden and publish this data on an annual basis

Why it's needed

The government rarely considers the cumulative impact of their policy actions and therefore often develops policies in silos, without different departments talking to each other. By contrast, businesses are hit by all these policies, taxes and administration at once.

2018/19 saw a 4.2% increase in the taxes that government collected from business when compared to the previous year. And this was not an isolated increase: from 2016/17 to 2017/18, the figure rose by 4.4%. Add in the ever-increasing regulatory requirements, and these figures are even higher.

The spiraling costs, occurring in a time of economic uncertainty, make it hard for firms to do business and threatens national prosperity.

The government has a responsibility to recognise the burden that disjointed actions cause and act now to make it easier for businesses and society to prosper.

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"From investing in communities and creating opportunities for people, to contributing more than a quarter of the total UK tax-take, businesses are the heartbeat of towns and villages throughout the country. But the rapidly growing weight of tax and regulation on business puts a strain on firms and makes it harder to do business in the UK. We want to work with the government to tackle this growing cost, to ensure the UK remains open for business and retains its international competitiveness."

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist

Why does tax have to be so taxing?

The government must ease the burden and protect the economy

For the UK to remain open for business and to retain its reputation as a highly competitive economy, with a world leading tax and regulatory environment, the government must ease the rising costs on business in the UK

  • of businesses think that the level of regulation in the UK is an obstacle to success, according to the 2018 Business Perception Survey

  • of small businesses said that tax administration was a burdensome area of compliance

  • On top of the traditional business taxes, firms pay over 20 ‘other’ taxes. These smaller taxes together make up £33 billion: 17% of all taxes business pays.

The case for alleviating the burden

Here’s the truth about tax: complexity makes it hard for firms to contribute towards society in other impactful ways, and the myth that businesses aren’t paying enough tax is unnecessarily damaging reputations. Find out more about the simple ways government can make improvements to the tax system.

Our progress and impact

The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.

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Support the change

  1. Are you a business leader?

    Join the CBI

    Our members are our mandate, and the reason we're the most influential business organisation in the UK.

    Join the voice of business and help us campaign to reduce the rising burden of tax and regulation.

    Become a member
  2. Are you a CBI member?

    Have your say

    Regulation is one key way the government shapes markets and protects consumers and individuals. But often regulation is slow to react to changing market conditions and, when created in silos, adds to the overall burden on business. We're looking for members to attend working groups and provide insights from their sector.

    Get involved
  3. Are you a policymaker?

    Make a difference

    This campaign is led by the CBI's Tax & Regulation team.

    Contact Annie Gascoyne, Director of Economic Policy, to find out more about the burden of tax and regulation on business and how you can help alleviate it.

    Contact us