Still reeling from the budget confusion?

You’re probably reeling from trying to digest the economic predictions, the
new avoidance measures, cuts here, increases there – budget day is now so
stuffed with information, it’s difficult to know what Gordon Brown is up to.

The chancellor has a number of agendas to tackle. There’s a growing
discontent among businesses, principally over the chancellor’s assault on tax
avoidance; there’s concern over growing public expenditure; and then there’s a
small matter of a change of leadership at the top.

Our job, and yours as accountants, is to somehow make sense of it all. One
way of doing this is to ask a very simple question – what does this do for UK
competitiveness? For tax professionals this is another question. Do we pay more
or less under Gordon Brown than we could by moving the company elsewhere? Could
investors get a better return if we upped sticks and moved?

Already it is clear that there is a battle under way for the public’s opinion
on corporate tax revenues. Some, like the Tax Justice Network, argue that UK plc
is not paying its dues. Others, like The Hundred Group of finance directors,
counter that UK corporates are making a contribution that runs into billions, so
why pick on them?

A competitive Britain creates jobs, which generates tax revenues and enhances
our standard of living. The difficult task is to find the threshold. But as much
as everyone may believe that the chancellor may be feeling his way ever closer
to that point, it would seem suicidal to take the economy over the brink, before
he becomes leader.

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