Brown called on to cut red tape

Employers are calling for a simplification of the tax system and an end to
administrative payroll burdens such as the working families tax credit in the
run up to this month’s Budget.

They also want tax breaks for training, particularly in sectors suffering
from skills shortages.

The Institute of Directors said simplification of the tax system should be a
high priority and that there should be no further extension of social security
benefits through the pay-roll.

"The working families tax credit will in itself impose a large and
wholly unacceptable administrative burden on employers," said head of
policy Ruth Lea.

Sir Clive Thompson, president of the CBI, echoed the call, saying the
quarterly system of corporation tax payments is another burden and that time
spent dealing with it could be better spent on business issues.

He added that the complex tax procedure is particularly a burden for small
and medium-sized enterprises but also impacts on bigger companies.

The Engineering Employers’ Federation said the Government must not use the
Budget to usher in changes to legislation, as employers already have too much
to deal with.

Tom Bewick, policy director at the national council of National Training
Organisations, said the council will not be making a statement but that he
would like to see Gordon Brown provide more incentives for training.

"We are looking for breaks from the Chancellor that help individuals
and employers invest in skills.

"The Skills Task Force recommended to the Treasury that it reviews the
fiscal incentives for training and we hope they have been doing that," he
said.

At an IT skills and training conference in Brussels last week Microsoft
called on the Government to provide tax breaks for firms training staff in IT
skills.

The TUC wants job creation policies to help depressed areas.

The Low Pay Unit, meanwhile, wants a widening of the 10 pence-income tax
band, an annual increase in the minimum wage and higher rates of sick pay,
maternity pay and pensions.

The IPD is not making a pre-Budget statement.

By Dominique Hammond

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