Business leaders hope for a ‘no-surprises’ Budget
After all the fiscal turmoil over the last few years, north west businesses and individuals will be craving a ‘no surprises’ Spring Budget from the Chancellor on Wednesday, March 15.
Most commentators, as well as the Bank of England, now consider that inflation is finally coming under control, with the rate expected to fall to around four per cent by the end of this year compared with the current rate of nine-10 per cent.
This decrease is being driven by falling wholesale energy prices and a reduction in the price of imported goods now that post-pandemic production difficulties have eased.
Successive tax hikes over the last few years, coupled with cost-of-living pressures, have left people and businesses with less to spend on goods and services. This no doubt has also had a downward impact on inflation.
However, the fact remains that UK taxpayers still face the highest tax burden in several generations. Given the highly unpredictable nature of the Truss and Johnson era, business leaders now simply want to see some stability in the tax landscape, so that they can plan investment and employment decisions.
Given past performance, it is perhaps too much yet to expect Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt to start to reduce tax rates, unless they have an early eye on the 2024 general election.
However, employers and employees alike need to see some degree of certainty.
April this year marks a further set of changes to the corporation tax regime in particular, including increases to the headline rates and reductions in reliefs for capital expenditure.
Businesses will have enough on their plate dealing with this, and so will be hoping for no more tinkering by the Treasury for now.