Pre-Budget report submissions

Organisations are hoping for action on everything from public spending to child poverty in the chancellor’s pre-Budget report. brings you a selection.

British Chambers of Commerce: Opportunity to help manufacturing

British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) director general David Frost says that the pre-Budget report is an opportunity for the chancellor to “throw a critical lifeline to our vulnerable manufacturing industry”.

He warns that the threat of recession is real – research by the organisation finds the share of manufacturing in total UK output fell to below 15 per cent in 2003, from more than 20 per cent in 1998.

“Our manufacturing industry needs urgent support to put Britain back as a world leader for innovation,” he said.

An extension of the system of research and development (R&D) tax credits to encourage innovation is not enough, he insists – the whole system must be made simpler, less bureaucratic and should cost businesses less to access.

Mr Frost calls for a better campaign to promote R&D support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and clearer guidance as to when firms should expect to receive credits.

Confederation of British Industry: Budget black hole a priority

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) insists the chancellor must cut back on public sector spending “or jeopardise future growth”.

In its recommendations for his pre-Budget report, the CBI warns that the alternative to spending cuts – tax rises for businesses and individuals – would “hit the economy” at the time of economic slowdown.

“A £10 billion structural deficit has opened up in the public finances, which needs to be tackled early in the next fiscal cycle,” said deputy director general John Cridland.

“The workable solution is for the government to. ease back on the dramatic rate of growth of public spending.”

He added: “The unworkable alternatives are allowing borrowing to drift even further – meaning higher interest rates and more public funds diverted into interest payments – or raising taxes, hitting economic growth and, ultimately, the future tax receipts available for public spending.”

Child Poverty Action Group: Poverty gap needs to be narrowed

The Child Poverty Action Group is calling for the eradication of child poverty to be a priority in today’s pre-Budget report.

The charity wants parents to be supported in their search for employment, “not forced by a loss of benefits”, and says the poverty gap has to be narrowed if the government is to meet its pledge of halving child poverty by 2010.

CPAG urges “safety net benefits” at or above the poverty line and wants this to rise in line with average incomes.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) must also ensure it has the necessary resources to deliver its welfare programme, CPAG insists, and the charity criticises its handling of the Child Support Agency (CSA) and Jobcentre Plus.

In addition, the charity calls on the tax credit system to be improved, saying it “must be made to work much better in the interests of lower income families and tackling child poverty”.

Friends of the Earth: Chancellor has to tackle climate change

Friends of the Earth (FoE) is urging Gordon Brown to put climate change “at the heart” of his pre-Budget report.

Insisting that taking steps to cut emissions would be “good for the economy” as well as the environment, the campaigners say tax on ‘gas-guzzlers’ should be increased and cash incentives given to motorists who buy more environmentally-friendly cars.

It also wants the government to do more to encourage people to be more energy efficient around the home.

“Gordon Brown should introduce measures that encourage businesses and the public to reduce their carbon emissions,” says FoE’s economic coordinator, Simon Bullock.

“This would boost innovation and new technologies, cut our dependence on energy imports and reduce the threat of catastrophic economic costs from climate change.

“The chancellor must show that he is serious about tackling global warming.”

Defend Council Housing: Level playing field for housing

Defend Council Housing, a council tenants’ campaign group, is demanding a “level playing field” for council housing in Gordon Brown’s pre-Budget report.

They argue the UK’s three million council tenants face “financial discrimination” under current housing regulations, as the government takes all the income of council tenant rents – but only gives back an allowance to local authorities to finance repairs and general costs.

According to their calculations, the government withholds on average £1.5 billion a year which they say should be ploughed back into local authority repair budgets.

“The significant growth in council waiting lists shows strong support for council housing and adds to the case for extra investment,” says Alan Walter, chairman of Defend Council Housing.

“Government rhetoric talks about choice but council tenants across the UK are being blackmailed and bullied to accept privatisation as the only way of getting improvements.

“We want new kitchens and bathrooms.”

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors: Property investment reform needed

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is hoping that much of the reform it has been lobbying for will be addressed in the chancellor’s pre-Budget report.

This includes an announcement that real estate investment trusts (REITS) – which provides greater tax advantages when investing in properties – will be introduced next year.

With regard to business premises renovation allowances (BPRAs), RICS wants to see a “postcode approach” to deciding which commercial properties are eligible for government money when renovating to attract buyers in deprived areas.

It says the current selection process is “too crude” and throws up anomalies such a Canary Wharf, which is still classed as a deprived area even though it is home to some of Britain’s biggest companies.

The organisation is also pressing for greater land market reform to be included, insisting the government’s current proposals are “flawed”.