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Responding to proposals unveiled by the Conservative Party, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, Dr Adam Marshall said:

Business rates:

“We have continually highlighted the damaging impact that upfront business costs are having on companies across the UK – and Chambers have long called for the reform of Britain’s broken Business Rates system. Increase after increase in the cost of doing business is contributing to the stall in business investment: in five out of the last six quarters, business investment has fallen.

“Recent Chamber research shows that 35% of businesses said they were likely to reduce or completely cancel investment as a result of business rates increasing this year. Businesses will therefore be pleased to see this issue coming to the fore in the election campaign and will welcome a commitment from one of the main parties to launch a fundamental review of the business rates system.

“However, the business community will judge the success of any review of business rates on whether it delivers a fundamental reduction in the burden rates place on our businesses. A streamlined business rates system could improve incentives for businesses to invest – but only if it takes account of real-world economic conditions and makes rates simpler for businesses.”

Employer Allowance:

“Small businesses will be encouraged to see proposals to raise the Employment Allowance from £3,000 to £4,000. Yet even if this is introduced, it would only be a small step to compensate businesses for the relentless rises in employment taxes and costs that businesses have experienced in recent years.”

R&D tax credits:

“BCC research in 2018 found that 23% of Chamber businesses had made use of R&D tax credits, and over three-quarters of them (77%) said they were effective in introducing new products, services, and processes.

“Businesses will be pleased to see proposals to increase the rate and scope of R&D tax credits – but they must be made simpler so that more firms can benefit from them.”

On Structures & Buildings allowance

“With survey after survey showing that business investment is at some of its lowest levels in a decade, and difficult times for the construction sector in many parts of the UK, an increase in capital allowances such as the Structures and Buildings Allowance would be well-received by many businesses.”

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