CBI president criticises UK’s ‘punitive’ tax regime

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Sir Roger Carr, CBI president since June, addressed the CBI Scotland’s annual dinner last Thursday
Sir Roger Carr, CBI president since June, addressed the CBI Scotland’s annual dinner last Thursday

CBI president Sir Roger Carr last week criticised the UK government’s tax regime as “punitive” while insisting that business and political leaders are “on the same page” when it comes to economic recovery.

In his first major speech in Scotland since taking up the post in June, he told his Glasgow audience the Treasury’s “misguided” levy on North Sea production had weakened investment and could eventually further raise the price of oil and gas in the UK. He also called for a reduction in rates of personal taxation, which should not just be replaced by another method of tax.

Carr told CBI Scotland’s annual dinner: “High personal taxes may seem like good politics, but they’re bad for business. They should come down – and not just be replaced by a damaging property tax.

“The UK needs motivated entrepreneurs, and it’s a fantasy to think that highly-mobile, talented people will forever tolerate some of the most punitive tax rates in the developed world.

“We need less regulation, more public service reform and a faster pace on infrastructure development and renewal, and we don’t need these by the end of the parliament – we need them now.

“Above all, the government must not be deflected from its core task of repairing the public finances. It remains the bedrock of our global financial credentials and our recovery momentum.”