Accountants’ body warns next Government must act to avoid ‘cliff edge’ for UK business

Helen Brand
Helen Brand

Ahead of the General Election, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has released a five-point manifesto for the next government.

And Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA, warned: “Britain is facing unprecedented challenges and opportunities over the coming months and years. This is a time for the government to take stock, review existing structures and strategies, and prepare a long-term plan to benefit the UK economy and business.”

The organisation wants a UK-wide industrial strategy that recognises differing regional circumstances and demanding action to plug skills gaps in the labour market which could worsen post-Brexit. It also wants a return to the basics of the tax system.

Ms Brand said: “The government should revisit key tenets of the tax system such as business rates, and ensure they are conducting a root and branch review of current systems, with consideration of the changing post-Brexit business landscape. It may be time, for example, to detach business rates from property values.”

She added: “We welcome the deferment of Making Tax Digital following its removal from the Finance Bill, allowing government and stakeholders to reassess the current plan post-election. The next seven weeks of purdah gives us time to take a constructive and close look at the Finance Bill, and then the delayed MTD can be later scrutinised alongside potential accelerated tax payments.

“We hope that the next government avoids the temptation to tamper with tax plans, and instead conducts a thorough review of existing systems to lay the foundation for long-term planning.”

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