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BCC says Government still needs to plan for tomorrow as new Chancellor reverses tax cuts

Responding to the Chancellor’s decision to reverse almost all of the tax cuts previously announced by his predecessor, Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The Chancellor’s buzzword was stability. But what we’ve seen from him is a plan for today and nothing for tomorrow.  

“Following the economic turmoil of the last few weeks he had to press the reset button. 

“But businesses will be dismayed by the decision that looks set to strip back the energy support for firms from next April. This will be a hammer blow for many who were already worried about how they will survive.  

“The Government must commit to a full consultation with firms ahead of that cliff-edge to provide some certainty on where any targeted support will go. Energy costs keep business owners awake at night, alongside rising inflation and interest rates. 

“Keeping support for the NICs reversal in place will be some relief for hard-pressed firms, but on its own will not be enough.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ditched almost all of PM Liz Truss’s tax cuts which were announced in the Government’s mini-budget three weeks ago.

Mr Hunt scrapped plans to cancel a planned rise in Corporation tax from 19% to 25%, he also cancelled the removal of the top 45% top rate in Income tax for high earners and the reduction in the basic rate of income tax from 20p to 19p.

A proposal to freeze alcohol duty rates was also axed, as was a proposal to re-introduce tax-free shopping for non-UK visitors. He also shelved plans to scrap changes to the IR35 rules.

The cap on energy prices charged to households is now only guaranteed until April next year, but will then be reviewed, as will the energy support offered to businesses.

But cuts to stamp duty and National Insurance remain in place.

Ms Haviland added: “The Chancellor has a delicate balancing act to carry out. He must restore order to the markets if he is to prevent further damage to business and consumer confidence. But if he is serious about stability and growth, he must speak to our Chamber Network to truly understand the pressures firms face. 

“People run businesses and businesses rely on people. The Government is failing to fully understand that the cost of living and cost of doing business crises are two sides of the same coin.  We still need a clear vision on how it will support firms and the communities that rely on them to thrive. 

“It must be clear in how it plans to do this, to prove it is serious about helping businesses through the difficult months ahead. Time is of the essence.”  

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