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Consumers and the digital single market

From:                           Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Department for Culture, Media & Sport and Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG
Delivered on:               24 February 2016 (Original script, may differ from delivered version)

Summary:                    Speech by Baroness Neville-Rolfe about the importance of the digital single market for consumers.

Full speech:       

Reports & Statistics

Title:                FSB calls for Budget to back enterprise, reform business rates and simplify tax

Department:     Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)


In its submission to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in advance of the 2016 Spring Budget Statement, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the Government to strengthen small business confidence by clearly and consistently backing enterprise. The FSB’s recent quarterly survey shows small business confidence is cooling in the face of deteriorating global economic headwinds and domestic policy decisions which are coming into force.

Our members are being tested by a series of significant challenges which will drive up costs and increase burdens over the coming months. These include the introduction of the National Living Wage in April, pension auto-enrolment and changes to the tax treatment of dividends. On top of these, small firms still face an unreformed business rates system and the prospect of compulsory quarterly digital tax reporting.

Full details:

Title:                EEF Budget Submission – March 2016

Department:     EEF: The Manufacturers’ Organisation

Key recommendations:

  1. Apprenticeship levy: We have set our six clear red lines that must be satisfied on the implementation of the new levy. Any failure to clearly satisfy these red lines will result in the levy being seen, rightly, as another business tax
  1. Employer tax relief on pension contributions must not be reduced in this Budget. The prospect of a future cut is already dampening employers’ plans to invest and grow. An actual cut would add to the potentially damaging collective of business costs government has already announced.
  1. The business tax roadmap should aim to reduce the tax wedge on employment and align tax reform with technologies that will boost productivity – these include capital allowances, business rates and the R&D tax credit. The roadmap should also outline how it will engage with the wider business community in the process of tax policy making and consultation.
  1. Government’s focus on productivity should be further developed by:
  • Expanding the new Roads Fund to cover local road improvements
  • Implementing the Airports Commission’s recommendation for an additional runway at Heathrow airport
  • Reviewing competition of the business internet connectivity market
  • Increasing core funding for new Catapult Centres
  • Developing a long term coherent energy strategy

Full report:

Title:                Retail 2020 – Fewer but Better Jobs (February 2016)

Department:     British Retail Consortium

Key findings:

  • Numbers employed in retail have declined since 2008 but the incidence of low pay have been rising in retail for several years.
  • Cost pressures have increased markedly at a time when growth in consumer expenditure has been subdued.
  • The rate of change within the workforce is now set to quicken as the digital revolution reshapes the industry, assisted by many more leases being up for renewal and accelerated by the diverging costs of labour versus technology.
  • The retail industry is supportive in principle of the National Living Wage but the effects on employment have been underestimated.
  • Together these effects could mean there are as many as 900,000 fewer jobs in retail by 2025 but those that remain will be more productive and higher earning.
  • Three key things to do:

o    The first is to rebalance the burden of taxation.

o    Second is to ensure the remit of the Low Pay Commission is strengthened and clarified with regard to the National Living Wage.

o    Thirdly, there must be greater employer leadership of the apprenticeship levy including more discretion for employers over how and where it is spent.

Final report:

Posted by Sue Robinson on 04/03/2016