Jeremy Hunt admits UK business tax is too high

Prime Minister Jeremy Hunt admitted on Monday that Britain’s corporate tax is too high. It came under pressure at major business events to restore tax breaks on shopping for international visitors.

Rishi Sunak has used the government’s Business Connect event with around 250 business leaders to declare that he will “unashamedly stand by the business” as he sought to counter a labor attraction attack on UK plc.

Sunak has announced £100 million in government funding for a task force aimed at accelerating the UK’s capabilities in artificial intelligence, known as the ‘foundational model’, used in chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT. announced to provide

But the prime minister was quickly challenged by business leaders for the policies he formulated as prime minister, including withdrawing VAT benefits for post-Brexit overseas visitors shopping in the UK.

Luxury brand Burberry chairman Jerry Murphy said the move had made the UK the least attractive shopping destination in Europe, and said it was a “bad decision” that benefits the EU’s neighbors. .

“The UK has had the weakest recovery of any major country so far. [European] market [in Burberry trading]’ added Murphy. “As a result of that policy, we are aggressively exporting our business to our continental competitors.”

Mr Snack said he would “get rid of it”, but government officials said it was unlikely to revive the VAT deduction, which he said could cost him £2 billion a year.

In total, Sunak used the words “listen” or “engage” about 20 times at business events as he and the prime minister repeatedly pressured him to develop a clearer strategy on economic growth and trade.

Hunt acknowledged that the UK’s business tax is too high, but said the best way to bring it down was to expand the economy.

he defended the government’s decision to increase production Corporate tax It rose from 19% to 25% this month, arguing that previously lower interest rates did not lead to an increase in business investment.

“Taxes are too high. I want to bring them down,” Hunt said. “The way we reduce our tax burden is through growth.”

He said the decision to do away with VAT-free shopping for international visitors was the right move given the costs. He also said he was right to impose a windfall tax on energy company profits but would “continue dialogue.” . . because we need to unlock investments in the North Sea. This is part of the net-zero transition and part of energy security. ”

Conservative insiders have privately confirmed that Labor leader Sir Keir Sturmer, alongside shadow prime minister Rachel Reeves, has led a highly successful glamor attack on business in recent months. I admit to

Sunak’s appointment of former Morgan Stanley executive Franck Petitgas as its new business and investment advisor marks a renewed effort by the government to improve relations with corporate leaders.

While many attendees at the Business Connect event were positive, some said Sunak needed to go through the “listening” exercise with business-friendly policies.

Marketing veteran and founder of S4Capital, Sir Martin Sorrell, said Sunak was “very good at detail and knowledge” but had to deliver to the business.

Romi Savova, CEO of financial services company PensionBee, said: [Sunak] We are very open with the business community across a range of policy issues. ”

However, she added: “With many business her leaders engaging with the government at multiple events and awaiting the development of concrete policies, the groundhog sense of her day is growing.”

Business leaders asked about government plans to boost business investment, innovation and exports.

Barclays Bank Chief Executive CS Venkatakrishnan asked how governments and businesses can work together to mobilize private capital.

Vibhor Gupta, founder of AI company PangaeaData. AI told his Sunak to “grow nascent businesses like ours, scale them in other markets and make them more competitive, or at least competitive” in larger markets such as the United States. asked for help.

Nadia Sood, founder of technology company CreditEnable, asked the Prime Minister how the government would support companies wishing to expand in India.

Fashion designer Anya Hindmarch said it would be easy for Britain to lose its dominance in the world’s leading creative industries, and called for government help.

Keith Anderson, chief executive of energy company Scottish Power, said the group was ready to invest £10bn in the UK’s renewable energy supply chain, requiring businesses and governments to work together. He said there is

Sunak said the government has the lowest corporate tax rate among the G7 countries, combined with a “whole spending” tax cut on capital investment to boost investment. “So this is the most attractive place to invest anywhere in the world,” he added.

He also said Britain needs more innovation because the government is investing more in research and development “because it’s the best long-term driver of growth”. Jeremy Hunt admits UK business tax is too high

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