10 Feb 2017Ahead of the 2017 Spring Budget on 8 March, business groups have set out their wishes and priorities for both business and the UK economy. In a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) called for the government to ‘back businesses’ growth ambitions’ to help build prosperity across the UK, and to work alongside firms to ‘prioritise stability’ during periods of economic uncertainty. The CBI has also urged the government to tackle the UK’s ‘outdated’ business rates regime and limit its ‘growing burden’ on businesses. Echoing the call made by the CBI, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) also advised the government to take action on ‘delivering real reform’ to the business rates system. The business group called for the government to abandon the ‘fiscal neutrality principle’ in business rates reform, labelling this as an ‘unacceptable barrier’ to the revision of the system. The BCC also recommended that the government bring forward the switch from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to April 2017, instead of during 2020, as is currently planned. Meanwhile, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has advocated for a ‘pro-business Budget’ that supports self-employed individuals, urging the government to help more people start up in business. Commenting on the issue, Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, asserted that the FSB is seeking ‘changes to the social security system so that it better reflects today’s economy’, alongside ‘incentives to help the self-employed pay for their retirement’. Reflecting on the government’s response to its Making Tax Digital (MTD) consultation feedback, the FSB also proposed that HMRC alters its tax digitisation timetable, and implements the MTD initiative in 2020, rather than in 2018 as is currently planned. The Chancellor will present the 2017 Spring Budget on Wednesday 8 March. Coverage of the key announcements will be available on our website, so please visit regularly.