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General election: Boris Johnson set to unveil plan to cut business rates

Move comes as CBI director general criticises both Conservative and Labour policies

Monday 18 November 2019 02:23 GMT
Boris Johnson fails to recall immigration figures

Boris Johnson is set to unveil tax cuts the Conservatives say are designed to help companies “make the most of Brexit”.

A Conservative government would cut business rates, launching a fundamental review at their first budget, under the plans.

The party said they will increase the employment allowance from £3,000 to £4,000, providing a tax cut of up to £1,000 for more than half a million businesses.

The R&D tax credit rate will increase from 12 per cent to 13 per cent, which the Conservatives say will boost manufacturing and the professional, scientific and technical services sectors in particular.

They have also promised to increase the structures and buildings allowance (SBA) from 2 per cent to 3 per cent to increase the tax relief on the purchase, building or leasing of a structure.

In a speech to business leaders at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference on Monday, Mr Johnson is expected to say: “Let’s not beat around the bush, big business didn’t want Brexit.

“You made that clear in 2016 and this body said it louder than any other. But what is also clear is that what you want now – and have wanted for some time – is certainty.

“So that you can plan and invest, so you can grow and expand, so that you can create jobs and drive prosperity.”

He is expected to add: “Britain stuck in gridlock and our economy stuck in first gear. Extension to extension. Marching business up to the top of the hill, only to march them down again.

“And this is Corbyn’s plan at this election – the chaos and division of two more referendums, continued paralysis, continued uncertainty.”

Meanwhile, CBI director general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn has been critical of both Conservative and Labour policies ahead of the conference.

Dame Carolyn said December’s election is an “extraordinary” one for business, hailing 2020 as the most important year in a generation due to recent uncertainty over Brexit.

She said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s nationalisation plans will “freeze investment”, and called on him to work with business.

Asked if Mr Corbyn was a “friend to business”, and told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “We look at the policies on the table and we have real concerns that they are going to crack the foundations of our economy.”

Labour has already announced plans including free full-fibre broadband for all, a boost to NHS spending and a minimum wage hike to £10 an hour.

With parts of BT to be taken into public ownership under the broadband plan, further nationalisation proposals are expected.

But, Dam Carolyn was also critical of Tory pledges to get “overall migration down”.

“When we hear talk about brightest and best, I think that is a worry,” she said.

“If you do want to build 200,000 houses a year, you don’t just need the architects and the designers, you need the carpenters, you need the electricians, you need the labourers.

“We need people to come and help us renew our economy. It’s not just brightest and best, it’s people at all skill levels across our economy that we need.”

Press Association

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