Christian May, the IoD’s head of communications and campaigns, discusses the budget with head of taxation Stephen Herring and senior infrastructure policy advisor Dan Lewis
“The doom-mongers,” according to the IoD’s head of taxation Stephen Herring, “have been proved wrong” on a budget day in which the chancellor George Osborne referred to Britain as “the come-back country” while Labour, conversely, warned of more “extreme austerity”.
For Herring, the budget demonstrated that “Our fiscal position is secure enough that we don’t need to be looking for additional sources of tax. There’s a bit of room in there for tax cuts, both now and post general election, so we’ll certainly be campaigning for those that’ll help business growth, employment and the UK economy generally.”
Meanwhile, senior infrastructure policy advisor Dan Lewis described Osborne’s “bold and immediate” oil and gas tax reform as long-overdue good news for the troubled industry. “With oil prices having fallen 50 per cent, effectively the North Seas oil and gas industry has gone into quite a deep recession,” he says. “Why does that matter? Because the government is losing taxes, jobs have been lost and wages have been cut.”
Lewis adds a note of caution, though, in relation to the measures – which will see Petroleum Revenue Tax cut from 50 to 35 per cent and the Supplementary Charge from 30 to 20 per cent. “We may see further oil price falls driven by the record amount of crude oil stocks now in the United States,” he says, “and also the possibility that Iran is going to bring 800,000 to one million barrels of oil to the market if they reach a deal on the nuclear issue.”
Elsewhere, the IoD trio discussed the £7bn of transport investment allocated to the south west, as well as the IoD’s proposed measures regarding Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax thresholds.