Required - A Budget for Business
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has an opportunity to present a budget that will restore the UK's ability to compete with the rest of the world in manufacturing and the provision of services. In particular he has the opportunity to substantially reduce or eliminate a number of "on costs" created by successive UK governments that other governments of countries that we compete with do not burden their manufacturing or service providers with. Business rates, green taxes, excessive National Insurance contributions, road fund licences and excessive tax on motor fuel are some examples. Depending on the product or service being provided these "on costs" could amount to 30% of the export selling price.
Business rates should be eliminated on all business premises under 2000 square meters and reduced by 50% on all other premises. "Green tax" on the supply of power (gas and electricity) for businesses should be eliminated. National Insurance contributions by employers should be substantially reduced for persons over the age of 25 and eliminated on persons under the age of 25. This would go a long way in encouraging businesses to take on more staff and help reduce youth unemployment. Road fund licences on commercial vehicles should be substantially reduced and motor fuel tax should be reduced by at least 15%. Transport and delivery costs in the UK are considerably higher than in most other countries particularly the US and the far east. By taking this dramatic action the UK would once again be able to compete with the rest of the world on a more level playing field. Our exports would rise, our imports would reduce and unemployment would fall rapidly, particularly for young persons.
The "books" could be balanced by increases in corporation tax and further substantial reductions in benefits; particularly excessively high housing benefit and the elimination of child benefit after the third child. Benefits should not be available to anyone who has not contributed to the tax system for a minimum period of five years. This would discourage "financial migrants". Further savings should be made by reducing overseas aid, simplifying the tax system and leaving the European Union.
Another boost to businesses would be the removal from office of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade, Dr Vincent Cable MP. Some of his proposals are offensive to a large number of people working hard to survive in business and his replacement with someone more in tune with the business community would be very welcome.