Business groups slam proposed taxes

15 October, 2007

A plan to place an extra tax on businesses to fund local projects has been criticised by the British Retail Consortium.

Chancellor Alistair Darling’s intention to give shire counties and the Greater London Authority the power to fund local projects by raising up to 2p in the pound from small businesses will be a “disaster” for retailers, the BRC claims, because they will receive no direct benefit.

BRC head of tax policy Edward Cooke said: “Retailers already contribute more than £4.5bn to the public purse each year through business rates alone. It is unreasonable to demand they pay even more to fund projects which should be paid for from existing revenue, particularly as there is no guarantee that they’ll receive any benefits in return.”

The taxation plan was announced in Darling’s Pre Budget Report speech on Oct 9 and has been suggested as a way to give more power to local communities.

Darling’s announcement that he would be changing rules around capital gains tax, by replacing different relief for various investments with a single tax rate of 18 per cent was also met with scorn.

Four other business groups – the Federation of Small Businesses, the British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI and the Institute of Directors, sent an open letter today to the government, urging the Chancellor to suspend the reforms which they said would have a negative effect on the economy and “risk serious damage” to the country’s entrepreneurial culture.

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