Conservative tax policy update

22 Nov 2019

The Conservatives have not yet published their election manifesto. There are rumours it will be published on Sunday. But the party has revealed a number of elements of its tax plans this week.

Business rates

Speaking to a CBI conference party leader Boris Johnson announced ‚ a big review of business rates. Cutting rates further, particularly for SMEs to help, above all, to stimulate the high street.‚ A party statement elaborated that the Tories would use the first Budget after the election to launch a ‚ fundamental review‚ of business rates, with the burden of business rates being reduced as a result.

R&D tax credits

Boris Johnson also told the CBI he is planning to review the scope of R&D tax credits, to establish whether investments including cloud computing and data should benefit. He said he was proposing to increase the R&D tax credit rate from 12 per cent to 13 per cent.

Structures and buildings allowance

The Prime Minister told the CBI he is planning to increase the structures and buildings allowance ‚ which benefits companies that invest in new or renovated commercial premises ‚ from 2 per cent to 3 per cent.

National insurance

Johnson also announced that a new Conservative Government would increase the employment allowance from £3,000 to £4,000, thereby cutting National Insurance for more than half a million businesses. This will amount to almost a half a billion pound tax cut for small business,‚ said a party statement.

Separately the Conservatives announced that the national insurance threshold would be raised to £9,500 in 2020-21, from the current £8,632. Boris Johnson said the party‚ s ambition was to raise it to £12,500 but it is unclear whether that will be in the manifesto.

Corporation tax

Boris Johnson also told the CBI that the planned cut to corporation tax next April (from 19% to 17%) would be put on hold. He said: ‚ Before you storm the stage and protest let me remind you that this saves £6 billion that we can put into the priorities of the British people including the NHS. We have already cut it from 28 to 19 per cent, the lowest of any major economy, and that the alternative is Corbyn ‚ who would whack it straight back up to the highest levels in Europe.‚

Stamp duty land tax

The Conservatives plan to introduce a 3% stamp duty surcharge for non-UK residents, whether the overseas buyer is an individual or a company, the party announced today. Rishi Sunak, the Treasury chief secretary, said the move could raise up to £120m, adding that this would be used to tackle rough-sleeping.