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BCC wants business tax rates frozen

Oh, that general election...

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Election 2005 The British Chambers of Commerce has called on politicians from all parties to pledge that business taxes will not be raised in the next parliament. It says 90 per cent of business leaders it surveyed were worried that future tax increases would have a damaging impact on their businesses.

The announcement comes as Gordon Brown and Michael Howard prepare to address the members of the BCC at its annual conference in London today. Bill Midgley, president of the BCC, said that neither politician should expect an easy ride.

"The continuing debate over whether taxes will have to rise under a future Government is a major worry and employers now need a firm commitment that business taxes will not go up," he said.

He argued that over the last few years, businesses have had to contend with rising National Insurance contributions, other indirect taxes, and an increased burden of regulation. On top of these concerns, he said, speculation about the future of business rates "only serves to increase business fears".

He said any future government should retain central control of business rates, rather than devolving powers to local authorities, and renewed calls for a business environment with less red tape. ®

Update

After hearing speeches from Michael Howard and Gordon Brown, BCC president Bill Midgley said that Gordon Brown has "missed a golden opportunity" to reassure businesses that they will not face big tax increases after the election. He added that Michael Howard's promise of a year-long-tax freeze was welcome, but said that "businesses are looking for long term stability of the tax regime".®

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