The UK’s biggest pressure group has called on the government to extend its employment support program until the end of June.
UK businesses have asked for an additional £ 7.6bn ($ 10.3bn) in emergency government assistance, saying they cannot wait for Finance Minister Rishi Sunak’s March budget to see if they will would receive more support in the event of a pandemic.
As the UK is on lockdown again and businesses adjust to life after Brexit, businesses make big jobs and investment decisions and need to know if their financial lifelines will be extended, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said.
“We just have to finish the job. It would be a very strange time to end that support, ”CBI Director General Tony Danker said on Tuesday.
Sunak has already extended its support measures on several occasions and said its response to the pandemic will cost £ 280 billion ($ 379.8 billion) in the current fiscal year, pushing the national debt to more than 2 trillion pounds ($ 2.7 trillion) for the first time. Sunak has repeatedly warned that the current level of spending is unsustainable in the long run.
But he faces calls on many fronts to spend even more, including from lawmakers, including some from his Conservative Party, who want to extend the increase in emergency social assistance benefits.
The CBI said Sunak is expected to extend its massive job retention program, which is due to expire in April, until June, and then follow it with targeted support for jobs in sectors facing a slow recovery such as aviation.
It should give businesses more time to reimburse value added tax that was deferred last year, grant a similar deferral for early 2021 and extend a tax exemption from business rates for businesses forced to close by the government. lock as well as their suppliers.
“The rule of thumb must be that business support remains parallel to restrictions and that these measures do not stop suddenly,” Danker said.
The CBI has said its longer-term priority is overhauling the corporate pricing system which it says is an outdated and discouraging investment in low-carbon energy.
If further support is added ahead of budget, CBI wants Sunak to use the event to present plans to transition to net zero emissions to be used to boost UK economic recovery, reform corporate pricing system and encourage more spending on innovation. and skills.
Danker said it was too early to start raising the corporate tax rate in the UK, one of the lowest among wealthy economies after The Times newspaper reported Sunak was making plans for it. ” increase in order to start repairing public finances.
“It would be a mistake to raise corporate taxes when we don’t have a recovery,” Danker said.