3 minute read
Time to grow our way out of austerity says CBI
The UK needs a Budget that will enable the country to grow its way out of austerity, the CBI has said in its submission to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Faced with generation-defining challenges, this Budget should send signals that the UK is open for business and committed to supporting entrepreneurs and ambitious firms to thrive in all parts of the UK.
The CBI says the Government’s Budget is an opportunity to back the basics of a strong market economy and show how good government in partnership with responsible business can improve lives, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit talks.
In its pre-Budget letter to the Chancellor, the CBI sets out a series of measures aimed at bringing the UK’s new Industrial Strategy to life through concrete action, as a means of reinforcing the UK economy against future challenges.
Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s Director-General, urges the Government to get on with doing what it has promised – greenlighting large and small infrastructure projects, implementing the ground-breaking T-Levels programme and providing practical support for innovators.
Against the backdrop of subdued investment, business leaders need a stable, pro-enterprise environment. Top priorities are: improving education, fuelling inward investment in energy and infrastructure, spurring innovation and promoting competitiveness through the tax system. New measures should build on what has been started.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “Brexit planning must not be allowed to crowd out vital action at home. With this Budget, the Government needs to set its eyes on the horizon, not the next few yards. The only sure way to raise living standards and provide sustainable public services is to solve the UK’s productivity problem. This means tackling the weak foundations of our economy with consistency and determination.”
Business priorities in the CBI’s Budget submission include:
• Communicate a clear plan on the Government’s Industrial Strategy with a timetable for the consultations promised in the Industrial Strategy green paper
• Protect per pupil funding in real terms for this parliament and replenish schools’ capital budgets to support investment in long-term growth
• Commit to fast delivery of planned infrastructure projects within the current road and rail investment pipelines, with clear timeframes and implementation plans including investment in ultra-fast digital networks
• Ensure business rates incentivise productive investment – especially from our manufacturers – by exempting new plant and machinery investments from rates bills and bringing forward the RPI to CPI switch
• Set out a pathway to reach an investment target of 2.4% of GDP on R&D by 2027 and increase Innovate UK’s funding for collaborative R&D.
The CBI is also asking the Chancellor to provide government departments with resources to make a success of Brexit, and set out a vision for tax policy that enhances the attractiveness of the UK as a place to do business.
Specifically on the Industrial Strategy, Carolyn added: “We are setting out a series of measures aimed at bringing the UK’s new Industrial Strategy to life through concrete action, as a means of reinforcing the UK economy against future challenges.
“Fixing the foundations of the economy at home will help protect jobs, increase wages and living standards against the backdrop of uncertain UK/EU talks.”
Industrial Strategy recommendations from The CBI include:
• Provide business with a clear timetable for the consultations promised in the Industrial Strategy green paper
• Appoint an independent commissioner to ensure areas without devolution deals do not miss out on available funding
• Establish transparent criteria for choosing how money from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will be spent, ensuring it applies to a broad range of sectors and be open to businesses of all sizes.