Following the appointment of the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and her cabinet, and ahead of the Chancellor’s Statement, The Growth plan, ACCA UK wrote to the new ministerial teams to highlight the expertise of ACCA and also some of the key issues affecting our members.
We utilised the insight provided by our regular Tracker surveys, which gathers insight from practitioners on key issues and government policy measures affecting your business and clients. We highlighted our recent data which indicates that both hiring and growth ambitions have declined since the start of the year.
We wrote to the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Secretaries of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, International Trade and Education. We raised a number of issues across the following key areas:
- Reforming the Tax System – the UK tax system is overly complex and burdensome for businesses, which create inefficiency and stifles innovation and productivity. ACCA has called for a long-term radical reform of the tax system aligned to key principles of simplicity, certainty, and stability. We are also concerned over the protracted timescale for the government’s proposed audit reform.
- Restoring trust in, and efficiency of, HMRC – trust lies at the heart of a healthy relationship between a tax authority and the taxpayers and agents who interact with it. However, a lack of investment has, over time, damaged relationships between HMRC, compliant taxpayers, and the agents supporting them. ACCA has called for both clarity of the remit for HMRC and appropriate investment in its resources to allow those to be carried out. As a consequence, we have also called for a delay to the planned extension to Making Tax Digital for Income Tax and Self-Assessment (MTD for ITSA) and for its implementation to be phased.
- Support for Businesses – accountants and finance professionals play a crucial role in supporting businesses – either working within a business, or as a trusted external adviser. We know that addressing immediate cost pressures facing businesses remains an urgent priority. We have called for the government to commit to longer-term approach to initiatives to stimulate economic growth and boost productivity through investment, innovation and digital transformation.
- Net Zero Transition – ACCA supports the UK’s climate ambitions and look forward to continuing to promote the role of the accounting profession to develop regulation, standards and reporting requirements that are the bedrock of trust in capital markets; these underpin the workings of the modern economy and drive increased confidence and visibility in business for stakeholders.
- Finance and cashflow, particularly for small businesses – many businesses fail because they run out of cash, and accountants can play a key part in supporting businesses to plan, to manage their cashflow and tax affairs and to obtain the appropriate finance in order to invest to grow their business. We highlighted the critical role of accountants and finance professionals in supporting access to finance and called for an expansion of the role of the Small Business Commissioner to address the issues caused by late payment.
- Skills policy – we fed back the issues that members and employers have shared with us relating to skills, apprenticeships and access to talent. We have called for apprenticeship funding caps to be reviewed in line with inflation to ensure quality training can continue to be provided.
- International Trade – we know that businesses feel that exporting is a challenging step, especially within the SME community and we believe there is a role for accountants and finance professionals supporting business in this area. We’ve called for better sharing of the opportunities businesses can access in the form of loans, insurance policies, bank guarantees and trade support available to enable international trade to take place as easily and securely as possible.
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If you’d like to discuss any of the policy issues covered above, please contact the strategic engagement team:
Lloyd Powell - Wales
Susan Love - Scotland
Gemma Gathercole - England