As anyone who has read the UK press in the last couple of days knows, they’ve been issuing their usual bleat in advance of their conference . As Reuters reported it:
“Our survey shows that business leaders believe the UK’s corporate tax regime is more burdensome than it was five years ago, and that this is making the UK less attractive as an international business location,” said CBI Director General Richard Lambert.
They do, of course, want lower taxes, including a cut in the headline rate even though my own work on the Tax Gap shows that most large UK companies pay tax at less than 75% of that headline rate.
What I am pleased to see is that I no longer have to write letters to the press to ensure that the opposing view is available. Take this from today’s Guardian:
The CBI still seems stuck in a comfortable old groove, fighting the battles and mouthing the slogans of the 1980s – about cutting the tax burden, getting government off their backs and breaking the power of the trade unions. If there is a cultural gap between politicians and business in Britain today, it is business – not politics – that is out of step with the public mood.
I can’t resist adding the next paragraph a well:
Listening to the CBI, you might get the impression that UK corporate taxes are crippling initiative and profits. Not so. Business taxes in this country are not high; UK corporate tax rates are the lowest in the G7. And even if taxes were high, there is no necessary link between the tax burden and poor competitiveness; this year, says the World Economic Forum, the four most competitive economies are Switzerland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, none of which is an exponent of the slash-and-burn model. Contrary to CBI claims, British companies are not taking to the boats and heading overseas because of UK tax and regulatory regimes. In fact, the reverse is happening – foreign companies are queuing up to invest here.
The simple fact is that this is right and the CBI is wrong. Read the rest if what the Guardian ha to say and it’s hard not to agree with their conclusion that:
it is high time that the CBI raised its game.