CBI warns about politics and business taxes

The CBI director-general Richard Lambert has warned of "challenging times" for business.

Writing in the latest edition of the CBI magazine Business Voice, Lambert sets out the three main lessons from the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) "fiasco" that has "infuriated large sections of British business."

Acknowledging that were meetings between business and government in the wake of Alistair Darling’s shock initial announcement, Lambert adds that "there was no real engagement on the issues."

While the CBI made various proposals, he says, "these were very much one-way conversations. It was clear from the beginning that the Treasury had one over-riding priority: it needed more tax revenues."

And given the rocky state of public finances, this is not good news.

Lambert goes on to say that the CGT story suggests that, "in a period of volatile politics, short-term political considerations may well trump long-term economic strategy."

These are going to be "challenging times" for business, Lambert concludes. "All the political parties are going to be jostling for popular approval and seeking to score points."

In these circumstances, he argues. "the business voice has to be clear and consistent." Business is not "a vested interest on the margins of society. Instead, business lies at its very centre."

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