Daily Mail

Cut tax on business to Irish levels, urges Boris

- By Archie Mitchell and John-Paul Ford Rojas

BORIS Johnson yesterday pleaded with Chancellor Jer - emy Hunt to not raise corpo - ration tax, arguing Britain should ‘ dare to be different ’ and cut the levy instead.

The former prime minister joined calls from business leaders and Tory MPs to scrap a hike in the rate, set to rise from 19 per cent to 25 per cent on April 1.

Critics argue it will drive investment away and stifle economic growth. Speaking at an event in Westminste­r, Mr Johnson suggested the tax should be cut to the 12.5 per cent found in the Republic of Ireland. ‘There’s no point now in just emulating the high-tax, high- spend, lowgrowth European model,’ he said.

‘We should think not about raising corporatio­n tax but cutting corporatio­n tax to Irish levels or lower and really turbocharg­ing investment to drive levelling up across the whole country, really showing the world what they wanted to see from 2016 onwards – that we are different now, because this is a Brexit government or this is nothing.’

Mr Johnson’s interventi­on followed a warning this week from Confederat­ion of British Industry vice president Lord Bilimoria that businesses were at breaking point and it was ‘not the time’ to put up taxes.

Analysis has suggested the Chancellor will have a £30billion windfall to play with after public finances turned out to be in better shape than expected. He has been urged to use the funds in this month ’s Budget to ditch the tax rise and pursue other pro-growth measures.

Mr Johnson’s speech came as Mr Hunt faced separate calls to cut corporatio­n tax bills for companies that reduce their carbon footprints.

Two-thirds of small and medium firms have no plans to cut their car - bon emissions to zero by a specific date, according to a survey by lobby group the Institute of Directors (IoD). And two thirds of bosses without a plan said they would be more likely to put one in place if it meant facing lower corporatio­n tax.

IoD chief economist Kitty Ussher said such a move would be a ‘clear and simple’ tool to incentivis­e change. She added that the UK’s net zero target of 2050 was under threat if small and medium businesses – which make up almost half of the emissions from companies across the country – were not involved.

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