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CBI demands action from Osborne

Budget hopes ahoy

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Business lobby group the CBI warned Chancellor George Osborne that the Budget must focus on helping UK companies grow by improving access to finance, cutting energy costs and increasing exports.

The CBI said the Chancellor should redouble efforts to increase exports. It welcomed recent moves to make export credit insurance more available to smaller firms.

It wants action to improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises. One way to do this would be to make the bond market more accessible to smaller firms by reducing corporate finance and placing fees.

The government could take on some of the risk of such bonds in order to make them more attractive to investors or offer tax incentives to anyone buying bonds from smaller companies.

It also said the Carbon Reduction Commitment should have incentives restored, or else the scheme should be scrapped.

The group called for action on fuel prices - an area in which Osborne has already hinted he may show mercy.

The CBI also wants changes to the Bribery Act which it fears could trap "legitimate business promotional expenditure". It wants evidence of corrupt intent including in the law.

It also wants to restore the two-year wait before staff can take action for unfair dismissal and reform employment tribunals. The CBI also wants to end the 50p tax rate and stop the extension of Air Passenger Duty.

The CBI's open letter to George Osborne is here.

The Budget will be presented to the House of Commons on 23 March. ®

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