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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 9 April, 2002, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
What lobby groups want in Budget
Members of the public
The UK's bosses have urged Chancellor Gordon Brown not to forget business in this month's budget.

Mr Brown is widely expected to make tax increases to boost NHS funding the centrepiece of his Wednesday, 17 April budget speech.

A welcome starter, which will make small firms all the more hungry for the budget main course

British Chambers of Commerce on Mr Brown's pre-budget announcements
In a break with tradition, he has already announced a raft of measures for industry including new tax breaks for research and development and help for small firms in poor areas.

But industrial leaders and unions have said more needs to be done - especially for Britain's hard-pressed manufacturers.

Mr Brown also faces a welter of demands from pressure groups as diverse as Friends of the Earth and the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, which is calling for a cut in cigarette duty.

'Welcome starter'

Among the budget measures already unveiled by Mr Brown are a further exemption from stamp duty on properties in some poor areas, a community investment fund and tax credit, plus the simplification of the VAT regime for smaller firms.

We want Mr Brown to show he has not lost his long term aim of using green taxation

Friends of the Earth
Anthony Goldstone, president of the British Chambers of Commerce, said these were "a welcome starter, which will make small firms all the more hungry for the budget main course".

He said manufacturers have had an "extremely tough year" and small businesses throughout the country were looking to Mr Brown for an all-encompassing package of support.

Larger companies have welcomed the chancellor's R&D tax credits.

But CBI Deputy Director-General, John Cridland, said Mr Brown must "must now follow through by introducing a credit large enough to make a real difference".

The CBI's main demand is for a reduction in the overall tax burden on business, which it claims is 29bn higher than five years ago.

'Green taxation'

The Federation of Small Business says it wants measures to curb the growth of the black economy, including an increase in personal tax allowances to 8,500.

It is also calling for a cut in petrol duty, even though the chancellor is under pressure from the environment lobby to stick to his commitment to "green taxation."

'Polluter pays'

Friends of the Earth wants a 1p a litre increase in petrol tax and a return to the controversial fuel duty escalator which sparked 2000's protests by lorry drivers.

It also wants the chancellor to scrap tax relief on so-called "red" diesel, which is used by farmers and other "off-site" drivers.

"We want Mr Brown to show he has not lost his long term aim of using green taxation," a spokesman told BBC News Online.

He said Friends of the Earth wanted "a balanced package of polluter pays taxes, spending on public services and tax breaks for householders and companies that do the right thing."

The group is also lobbying for VAT to be put on new house building on greenfield sites.

Nurse's pay

Mr Brown is also under pressure over his plans for extra NHS funding.

The Royal College of Nursing is urging him to pump 3bn over the next five years to solve the staff recruitment and retention crisis in the NHS.

General secretary Beverley Malone said: "Rewarding nursing staff with a modernised pay and career structure is vital to the long term future of the NHS."

More help

The TGWU and other unions are calling for more help for manufacturers and the regions.

The TUC says it wants an extra 540m to be pumped into the Regional Development Agencies.

It has also repeated calls for a restoration of the link between the basic state pension and average earnings.

Meanwhile, the Tobacco Manufacturers Association is calling for a 20p cut on a packet of 20 cigarettes to tackle smuggling and a freeze on duty increases for the next five years.

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26 Mar 02 | Politics
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