By Frank McKenna 21 October 2011 at 11:00
The UK’s economic competitiveness is being fundamentally undermined by the Government’s 50p tax rate. In an area like the North West this is a ‘toxic tax’ that hits us twice as hard. Business and civic leaders here are ploughing enormous effort into promoting entrepreneurship and promoting our region to foreign investors. We want to end our over reliance on public sector wealth creation. But to achieve this we need the government’s help to make our region attractive to overseas investors and we have to incentivise entrepreneurs.
The toxic 50p tax only succeeds in making that job harder. Peel Holding’s astonishing plans to supercharge the region through the Mersey Gateway project which could create thousands of jobs and attract massive investment from China would be helped hugely by cutting the 50p tax. Similarly, major infrastructure schemes in Manchester and Lancashire will be far more attractive a proposition to inward investors if we re-introduce a sensible tax regime.
As a lobby group we plan to make this a major theme of the ‘It’s Liverpool’ business conference in November. Here we will hear from business owners at the coal face of industry about the harm this tax is doing. We understand the pressures of the coalition and that the Lib/Dems are standing in the way of reforming the tax. This stance is motivated by political correctness rather than facing commercial reality. The market is brutally honest and we can confidently tell the government that this tax is causing investors to think twice about coming to the UK.