As published on the guardian.com, Monday November 18, 2019.
Boris Johnson has told business leaders he will shelve a planned cut in corporation tax, claiming he would put £6bn into public services instead.
The prime minister used a speech at the CBI conference to say corporation tax will not be cut from 19% to 17%, and issued a plea for business leaders to show understanding about his priorities.
Johnson’s decision to keep corporation tax unchanged comes as he attempts to distance the Conservatives from being seen as the party of big business, while promising tax cuts for small businesses, such as reducing rates and raising the employment allowance.
Labour has relentlessly portrayed the Tories as the party of the wealthy and has promised a number of nationalisations, which they claim would make utilities, railway, broadband and other services work better for the public.
Speaking at a hotel in Greenwich, south-east London, Johnson said the Conservatives were the party of business but cancelling the cut to corporation tax would save £6bn.
“I hope you understand that it is the fiscally sensible thing to do,” he said.
The prime minister’s calculations of the money saved will raise questions about Tory claims that cutting corporation tax does not cost the Treasury money.
Johnson also dropped a heavy hint he would include a major pledge on childcare in his manifesto and
Elsewhere in his speech, the prime minister made a pitch to business leaders that he would get Brexit done and create certainty for them. He said the economy was “like a formula one supercar firing on half its cylinders with so much more natural energy waiting to be unleashed” because Brexit is not completed.
“The country is being held back by politics and parliament,” he said.