Boris Johnson today announced the Tories will postpone a planned further cut to corporation tax in order to free up extra cash to invest in public services like the NHS.
The Prime Minister revealed the move as he addressed business leaders at a CBI summit in London.
The current rate of corporation tax is 19 per cent but it had been due to fall to 17 per cent next year.
Mr Johnson said pausing the shift to a lower rate would save £6 billion which the government would be able to use to invest in the health service.
The PM said postponing the reduction was the ‘fiscally responsible thing to do at the present time’ as he joked that he hoped business leaders would not ‘storm the stage’ after he made the announcement.
‘It doesn’t mean we’re in any way averse to reducing taxes on business as I’m sure you’ll understand,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson also launched a savage attack on MPs who failed to support his divorce accord with the EU as he claimed the UK is being ‘held back’ by political stalemate over Brexit.
Mr Johnson said the Tories only needed to gain nine seats on December 12 in order to make sure they ‘can and will’ get Brexit resolved ‘in a matter of weeks’.
He also likened his divorce accord to a Pot Noodle as he told the CBI event: ‘Just add hot water, stir in pot.’
Mr Johnson used his speech to set out a broad pitch to business ahead of polling day as he sought to make peace with industry leaders after comments he reportedly made in 2018 when it was claimed he said in relation to business concerns about Brexit: ‘F*** business’.
He signalled his intention to reduce business rates, increase tax credits on research and development from 12 per cent to 13 per cent and boost tax relief on the purchase, building or leasing of a premises from two per cent to three per cent.
Jeremy Corbyn will also address the conference after industry chiefs sounded the alarm about some of his proposals.
Boris Johnson told a CBI event in London this morning that implementing his Brexit deal would resolve the Brexit impasse
Jeremy Corbyn, pictured on the BBC yesterday, will also address the CBI after business leaders sounded the alarm about some of his policies
In his address to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference, Mr Johnson said: ‘Let’s not beat around the bush, big business didn’t want Brexit.
‘You made that clear in 2016 and this body said it louder than any other.
‘But what is also clear is that what you want now – and have wanted for some time – is certainty.
‘So that you can plan and invest, so you can grow and expand, so that you can create jobs and drive prosperity.’
He added: ‘Whilst you didn’t want it, the people did vote for it. And so it was for politicians to deliver it.’
Setting out his plans to reduce the tax burden on businesses, he said the Tory government would cut business rates, launching a fundamental review at their first Budget.
The party said they will increase the employment allowance from £3,000 to £4,000, providing a cut in National Insurance of up to £1,000 for more than half a million businesses.
Under the plans, the R&D tax credit rate will increase from 12 per cent to 13 per cent, which the Tories say will boost manufacturing and the professional, scientific and technical services sectors in particular.
They have also promised to increase the structures and buildings allowance (SBA) from two per cent to three per cent.
The Conservatives said the cumulative benefit to businesses of the changes to the employment allowance, SBA and R&D tax credits will be approximately £1 billion by 2022-23.
Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: ‘These measures lay down a gauntlet to other parties, and we hope there will be more to come at this election.
Carolyn Fairbairn yesterday warned Mr Corbyn’s business policies could ‘crack the foundations of our economy’
‘Actions to reduce the cost of employment and fix business rates should be complemented with clear commitments to tackle the scourge of late payments and help ensure the Government is helping the self-employed.
‘For example, through introducing a ‘self-employment legislative lock’ and measures to help the self-employed have better access to maternity, paternity and adoption support, and mortgages and pensions.’
Mr Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson are also speaking at the CBI conference.
The conference comes after CBI director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said Mr Corbyn’s nationalisation plans will ‘freeze investment’, and called on Labour to work with business.
She told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: ‘We look at the policies on the table and we have real concerns that they are going to crack the foundations of our economy.’