CBI calls for the Government to maintain momentum on upgrading the A14

The new appointed CBI Director General John Cridland after the announcement of his new post in the C

The new appointed CBI Director General John Cridland after the announcement of his new post in the CBI offices in central London, Britain, 15 November 2010. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is a British not for profit organisation which promotes the interests of its members, some 200,000 British businesses. - Credit: Photoshot

The CBI is calling on Chancellor George Osborne to focus on infrastructure investment, encouring innovation and removing barriers to enteprise in his Autumn Statement next month.

The business organisation says that growth-boosting investment in infrastructure, including the upgrade of the A14, is vital against a backdrop of increasing global risks to the economy.

It is putting forward a package of measures include a tunnel under Stonehenge to relieve congestion to the South West, maining momentum on the A14 upgrade and a final decision on the guarantee for Hinkley Point C power station.

The CBI also wants the Government to reform business rates, “supercharge” the research and development (R&D) tax credit, ensure that further devolution passes the business growth test while maintaining the integrity of the UK’s internal market, and freeze long-haul Air Passenger Duty.

It says businesses recognise that the public finances are under significant pressure and that, with the Government still borrowing around £100billion a year, a new fiscal framework should enshrine a continued commitment to deficit reduction.

However, it claims that the cost of its propsoals in the 2015-16 fiscal year would be a “modest” £676million, which should be paid for through public services reform and departmental savings.

John Cridland, the CBI’s director-general, said: “The UK recovery is on solid ground but it is in increasingly stark contrast to what’s happening elsewhere in the world. With eurozone economies flat-lining, continuing political tension between Russia and Ukraine, and in the Middle East, and slowing emerging markets, we must be alert to the possible knock-on effects here.

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“Businesses recognise the public purse is under pressure, which is why they want the Government to continue tackling the deficit, alongside targeted, affordable measures to keep UK growth motoring now, in the next Parliament, and beyond.

“We know firms are concerned about the state of our roads and energy supply and affordability, so the arrowhead of business recommendations is a major push on improving the country’s infrastructure. Businesses want to see the Government set out clear project plans, with start dates and timescales.

“We also want to see the Government encourage innovation and enterprise by reforming the outdated business rates system, which is a disincentive to company expansion, alongside expanding the R&D tax credit to encourage development, as well as research activity, in the UK.

“And freezing long-haul Air Passenger Duty would help more firms in all UK regions and nations, particularly smaller ones, export their products and services to new growth markets around the world, like Mexico and Indonesia.”