The British Chambers of Commerce 2008 Budget Submission is calling on the Government to recognise the changed economic climate and not introduce the raft of tax rises set to come into force this year.
 Amongst the changes set to pile the pressure on business this year are: 

- Raise in the Small Companies’ Corporation Tax from 20% to 21%, bringing the Treasury an extra £550 million

- Rise in the rate of Capital Gains Tax from 10% to 18%, bringing the Treasury an added £700 million 
- Income shifting legislation. Impact on business of £350 million
 - 2p rise in fuel duty.  The Treasury has already had an unexpected £3.383 billion windfall due to international oil prices since the last budget. The next 2p fuel duty rise alone will generate £480 million 
- Removal of Empty Property Rate Relief. Commercial properties are empty because of market conditions. Ending this relief is a £ 1.3 billion tax grab for local authorities

It is clear that there are challenging times ahead for the UK economy which makes the decision to raise taxes even more bewildering. The British Chambers of Commerce is predicting that average UK GDP growth will plunge from 3.1% in 2007 to 1.7% in 2008 but could recede further if the domestic policy response to the challenges ahead is inadequate.

David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: 

“The Chancellor has an opportunity in two weeks time to hold back from adding £3.4 billion worth of additional taxes on UK business.  The economy is set to slow down considerably this year and the last thing business needs is to be squeezed further by the Government. 

“In recent months we have seen a growing chasm between the business community and the Government. A range of poorly consulted and badly thought through policies have sent an adverse message to the business community, which threatens to erode enterprise and the spirit of entrepreneurialism in the UK.  This Budget gives the Government the chance to regain the initiative and show that it still can lay claim to being on the side of entrepreneurs.”