The Liberal Democrats have offered two things business want according to a report in the Telegraph. The first is a small cut in the corporation tax rate. The second is a massive reduction in tax regulation as a result of the adoption of a general anti avoidance rule.
These two issues are the favourite demands of business, large and small. So what does the CBI say? As the Telegraph notes the reaction is “cautious”. They say:
"At face value, simplification of the tax system is very appealing to businesses, but it could create losers as well as winners and risk harming parts of the economy. Such a proposal would have much more appeal if combined with a reduction in the overall tax burden on firms."
Which comment clearly sets out their real agenda. The CBI wants government to supply it with a well trained workforce, a health system that keeps them at the grindstone, social security which means they don’t have to bear the cost of their own failings, infrastructure and legal systems that provide them with the environment in which they can operate, and more – but they want someone else to pay for it.
A touch of reality would help a lot of the discourse on tax – especially from people who should know better. I would like to put the CBI in the latter camp. On this evidence I can’t.