ACCA UK urges Chancellor to focus on measures to boost growth and confidence

Accountancy body sets out measures for Spring Budget to reset the economy  

ACCA UK is calling on the Chancellor to focus on three crucial areas to restore UK business confidence and return the economy to growth. 

In ACCA UK’s submission to Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the accountancy body has highlighted three areas which it says will reset the economy: improving HMRC service levels; building a framework for growth and incentivising investment. 

Glenn Collins, head of Technical and Strategic Engagement, ACCA, said: ‘Our members tell us businesses are fighting against a rapidly changing fiscal context with spiralling energy costs, uncertainty in supply chains, inflation, and rising interest rates, alongside an often-inaccessible funding landscape.’ 

HMRC service standards have fallen to unacceptably low levels. Trust lies at the heart of a healthy relationship between a tax authority and the taxpayers and agents who interact with it. ACCA research shows that a lack of investment has, over time, damaged relationships between HMRC, compliant taxpayers, and the agents supporting them. 

Glenn Collins said: ‘We are keen to see more detailed improvement plans for HMRC service standards as a matter of urgency. While there are improvement plans in place – for instance about managing debt– we are not confident about progress without additional measures. The Budget is an opportunity for proper investment in HMRC.’ 

To create the right conditions for growth the UK needs the right framework to fulfil its potential where it has world-leading advantages. ACCA is calling on the government to take three steps:

  • Complete the audit reform process which is underway.
  • Act on the conclusions of the Skidmore review to ensure the right legislative and fiscal environment to move to net zero.
  • Simplify the tax regime recognising that simplicity plus certainty and stability are the cornerstones of a good tax system. In particular ACCA UK is asking how simplification will be achieved if the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) is abolished. It is also concerned over changes to Corporation Tax and the freezing of allowances, including Dividend Allowance (DA). 

ACCA has concrete proposals for incentivising business investment, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) at a challenging time when confidence is low. Businesses need help, especially with investment in sustainable technologies.

With government resources stretched ACCA is calling on the government and HMRC to recognise the value of timesaving and trust offered by professionally regulated agents. HMRC should seek to enable professionally regulated agents to provide services which can provide time and resource savings for HMRC.

For example, HMRC could allow only professional agents to claim R&D tax relief and alter information such as tax codes.

Glenn Collins said: ‘As trusted advisors to business, our members are well-placed to provide early and unique insight into business confidence and the impact of the challenging economic circumstances. ACCA UK hopes the Chancellor will make use of our members’ expertise to help deliver the strong UK economy that works for all.’

See here for ACCA UK’s letter to the Chancellor


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