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Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:59 pm on 22nd March 2016.

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Photo of Iain Wright Iain Wright Chair, Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, Chair, Education, Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee, Chair, Education, Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee 2:59 pm, 22nd March 2016

I would suggest that the approach on capital gains tax is contrary to having a long-term economic plan, as it encourages short termism—people do not scale up, but sell out quickly. That is a major structural concern.

To a large extent, the Chancellor has done positive things in this Parliament to encourage investment. In particular, the changes to the annual investment allowances are very welcome and will allow firms to invest with greater certainty. Other countries, however, are doing much more, and Britain risks missing out. Addressing the huge disincentive in business rates for firms wanting to invest in new plant and machinery should have been at the very top of the Chancellor’s list, and although the changes to business rates for small businesses were welcome and constituted the largest tax cut of this Budget, it seems ridiculous that the Chancellor did not resolve the ludicrous situation whereby a firm faces a larger tax bill in the form of higher business rates by choosing to invest in new plant and machinery. For a Government who pledged to do all they can to rebalance the economy towards manufacturing and specifically, in the past six or seven months or so, to help the hard-hit British steel industry, the omission of that single measure from the Budget was a significant blow for industry, particularly the steel industry, which wanted the Government to give a favourable signal to invest.