Against a backdrop of solid UK growth but increasing global risks, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is calling on the Chancellor to focus on infrastructure investment in the Autumn Statement.
The latest CBI/URS Infrastructure Survey shows that businesses expect transport and energy infrastructure to worsen over the next five years. For this reason, the CBI’s package of growth boosting measures includes a tunnel under Stonehenge, keeping momentum up on the A14 upgrade, and a final decision on the guarantee for Hinkley Point C power station. The group is additionally calling for the government to reform business rates, supercharge the research and development (R&D) tax credit, ensure further devolution passes the business growth test while maintaining the integrity of the UK’s internal market, and freeze long-haul Air Passenger Duty.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “The UK recovery is on solid ground but it is in increasingly stark contrast to what’s happening elsewhere in the world. With Eurozone economies flat-lining, continuing political tension between Russia and Ukraine, and in the Middle East, and slowing emerging markets, we must be alert to the possible knock-on effects here.
“Businesses recognise the public purse is under pressure, which is why they want the government to continue tackling the deficit, alongside targeted, affordable measures to keep UK growth motoring now, in the next Parliament, and beyond.
“We know firms are concerned about the state of our roads and energy supply and affordability, so the arrowhead of business recommendations is a major push on improving the country’s infrastructure. Businesses want to see the government set out clear project plans, with start dates and timescales.
“We also want to see the government encourage innovation and enterprise by reforming the outdated business rates system, which is a disincentive to company expansion, alongside expanding the R&D tax credit to encourage development, as well as research activity, in the UK.
“And freezing long-haul Air Passenger Duty would help more firms in all UK regions and nations, particularly smaller ones, export their products and services to new growth markets around the world, like Mexico and Indonesia,” Cridland concluded.
Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/25112014/autumn-statement-must-focus-on-infrastructure-investment-says-cbi-905/