Responding to the new Government’s legislative programme, as laid out in today’s Queen’s Speech, Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:
“The Government has got off to a solid start in the new Parliament with a focus on reducing red tape for small and medium sized businesses. But good intentions are nothing without delivery, and companies will be looking to the Business Secretary to spell out exactly where he will find £10bn worth of cuts to regulation.
“While IoD members are opposed to increases in the rates of VAT, Income Tax and National Insurance, we consider it imperative that the Government’s commitments do not prevent bold tax reforms to both simplify taxation and reduce the burden upon businesses and individuals. Ensuring that the UK tax system remains responsive to tax reforms introduced by our European and global competitors must be a government priority.
“The biggest economic opportunity of this Parliament comes in the Bill on devolution within England. Business leaders across the country stand ready to work with local authorities and mayors to take greater control of decision-making in areas including transport and planning in order to promote growth and employment.
“Now that the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union has been confirmed, the most important thing is that the Prime Minister gets on with the business of negotiating reform. The status quo is not an option for IoD members, who want reform in the way the EU works to give individual governments more control in managing their labour markets and economies.
“We understand the Government must be responsive to public concerns on immigration, and responsible businesses will have no objections to crackdowns on illegal workers or employers who break the rules. But proposals to charge employers who employ migrants an additional levy will add further costs on top of visa fees.”
IoD members’ priorities for this Parliament:
In a survey of 1,211 IoD members conducted immediately after the general election, an overwhelming majority (85%) supported plans to run a budget surplus by the end of the parliament. Business leaders think deficit reduction should be achieved primarily through spending cuts rather than tax rises. Over half of IoD members strongly oppose increases in National Insurance, Income Tax, VAT and business rates.
Infrastructure and education are ranked as the top issues for businesses who want the government to make them an “immediate priority”, with over half strongly opposed to spending cuts in these areas. Find the full results here.