BSRIA chief executive, Julia Evans, has responded to Chancellor George Osborne’s 2016 Budget, which was delivered yesterday (16 March).
She said: “Industry wanted a steady and balanced Budget, and that’s what we got. The Chancellor has avoided higher business taxes and costs – and indeed lowered them in a number of areas. He has taken action to lessen the burden of business rates and honed incentives for investment.”
On the state of economy/Business Tax Roadmap, Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax: a growth rate of 2 per cent is now forecast for 2016, revised down from 2.4 per cent in November’s Autumn Statement. And forecast growth of 2.2 per cent and 2.1 per cent in 2017 and 2018, has been revised down from 2.4 per cent and 2.5 per cent.
Ms Evans said: “This will have an impact on industry investment in development and, most importantly, investor confidence.”
Meanwhile, the headline rate of corporation tax, currently at 20 per cent, is to fall to 17 per cent by 2020. Ms Evans commented: “This is encouraging news for BSRIA SME members and the wider industry since it will allow such companies to bid more easily for more contacts and generally compete with more corporate businesses. In essence, this allows them to make investments with certainty.”
On business rates she said: “All in all, the rates reforms are a significant step in the right direction. Businesses will cheer measures to cut the hindrance of business rates, which hundreds of thousands of firms have to pay before they make any profit.”
On energy Ms Evans said: “It is a shame that the Budget didn’t ‘go further’ to include simpler energy efficiency schemes to be counted as infrastructure – so that they are funded out of taxation rather than fuel bills that many households are struggling to afford – which is regressive. Insulation pays for itself so many times over – especially when you include the creation of jobs.”
With regard to the increase in the climate change levy, she said: “The government must be watchful in making sure that carbon taxes on businesses do not make them internationally uncompetitive.
“But what of renewable energy? Such green credentials must play a part in achieving carbon emissions targets. Delivering the change that is required to meet such targets will require long term investment from industry; this will only happen if it has the confidence to do so.”