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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - BUSINESS TAX BURDEN

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Business has a major stake in the Balance of Funding review, not just as a taxpayer but also as a user of services ...
Business has a major stake in the Balance of Funding review, not just as a taxpayer but also as a user of services and increasingly through direct involvement in the delivery of services. But, too often, it seems that business is merely seen as an easy source of extra revenue.

Those pressing for business to pay a greater share of local government funding should accept the reality about the business tax burden. Companies not only contribute£15.6bn a year through business rates, but also help fund central government grant to councils through other taxation.

While, locally, council tax has risen sharply, at the national level business has borne the brunt of the government's tax increases. Between 1997 and 2004, tax changes introduced at the national level have raised£40bn extra from business.

Councils must also face up to the challenge of improving efficiency. The emphasis must be on delivering better value for money for all taxpayers - whether individuals or business. The Confederation of British Industry estimates councils could achieve efficiency savings of£3bn a year - surely this should be progressed first?

We should never forget that the interests of business and local communities are inextricably linked. It is business that generates the wealth and jobs we need. It is absolutely right businesses should play an active role in our communities, and initiatives such as business improvement districts show that business is prepared to contribute more where it is convinced that this will deliver genuine improvements.

But merely imposing additional

taxation will not ultimately be in anyone's interests.

Lucinda Turner

Head of infrastructure,

Confederation of British Industry

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