John­son prom­ises Na­tional In­sur­ance cut as he at­tempts to get busi­ness back on side

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - Po­lit­i­cal Editor By Gor­don Rayner

BORIS JOHN­SON will promise to cut em­ploy­ers’ Na­tional In­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions and three other taxes on com­pa­nies as he lays out the Tories’ cre­den­tials as the party of busi­ness.

The Prime Min­is­ter will make a ma­jor elec­tion pledge to re­duce busi­ness rates and taxes hold­ing firms back in a speech to the an­nual con­fer­ence of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish In­dus­try.

It comes after Carolyn Fair­bairn, the CBI’S di­rec­tor gen­eral, warned that Labour’s elec­tion pro­pos­als could “crack the foun­da­tions of our econ­omy”.

Ms Fair­bairn said Labour’s sweep­ing na­tion­al­i­sa­tion plans would “freeze in­vest­ment” in the UK be­cause com­pany chiefs “are al­ready think­ing ‘maybe we’re next’”, and sug­gested the party did not “value” the con­tri­bu­tion to the econ­omy of pri­vate en­ter­prise.

Mean­while, the Con­ser­va­tives have set out how tighter rules on im­mi­gra­tion would re­sult in a £1.3 bil­lion sav­ing to the public purse each year – more than the cost of tax cuts for busi­ness.

Mr John­son will try to heal the rift be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and the cor­po­rate world over Brexit by telling the CBI con­fer­ence in Lon­don: “Let’s not beat around the bush, big busi­ness didn’t want Brexit.”

But he will also say that what busi­nesses want more than any­thing is clar­ity, which will only be achieved by get­ting on with leav­ing the EU.

The is­sue of who vot­ers trust more with the econ­omy will be a key elec­tion bat­tle­ground. Mr John­son will pledge to cut Class 1 Na­tional In­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions for small busi­nesses by £1,000 per year, which the Tories say would ben­e­fit half a mil­lion small firms.

Em­ploy­ers pay NI con­tri­bu­tions of 13.8 per cent of salary for al­most all work­ers who earn more than £166 per week, but small busi­nesses are ex­empt from the first £3,000 of to­tal bills, which would be in­creased to £4,000 per year un­der the Tories’ plans.

Mr John­son, who re­peat­edly ar­gues that tax cuts in the right places re­sult in a higher tax yield for the ex­che­quer by en­abling the econ­omy to grow, will promise a “fun­da­men­tal re­view” of

Boris John­son faced fresh ques­tions last night about the na­ture of his re­la­tion­ship with busi­ness­woman Jen­nifer Ar­curi after she told him: “I’ve kept your secrets.”

An ITV doc­u­men­tary about the Prime Min­is­ter’s deal­ings with the Amer­i­can al­leged last night that they had a four-year af­fair. Mr John­son has de­nied there was a con­flict of in­ter­est aris­ing over his friend­ship with the for­mer model, 34. A Tory spokesman said: “Any claims of im­pro­pri­ety in of­fice are un­true and un­founded.”

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