Will May match Trump's corporate tax cuts?

Prime Minister tries to woo businesses with £2bn worth of tax cuts for science and research

Theresa May
(Image credit: Justin Tallis / Getty)

Theresa May has tried to woo back businesses alienated by her anti-corporate stance, including a hint at more big cuts to corporate taxes.

In her first speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) this morning, the Prime Minister said her "aim is not simply for the UK to have the lowest corporate tax rate in the G20, but also one that is profoundly pro-innovation".

In addition to a specified £2bn in new tax breaks for science and research by 2020, May could "cut corporation tax even lower than the 15 per cent promised by Donald Trump in his US presidential election campaign", says Sky News.

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UK corporation tax is already set to fall from its current 20 per cent to 17 per cent by the end of this parliament, but plans to cut this further to 15 per cent, outlined in the wake of Brexit by former chancellor George Osborne, appear to be scrapped.

The government is trying to win back businesses that have been put off by seemingly anti-corporate rhetoric since May ascended to the top of the Tory Party in the summer.

She has repeatedly hit out at bad business practices, pledged to ensure worker representation on boards and disbanded a big business panel that had given advice to her predecessor David Cameron.

A strong stance on Brexit has also dampened prospects for tariff-free trading with the European single market in the future, while Home Secretary Amber Rudd has floated the idea of companies having to publicly disclose the numbers of foreign worker they have.

"Mounting frustration with No 10 was disclosed last month when Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI's director general, publicly accused the prime minister of 'closing the door' on Britain’s open economy," says The Guardian Holding out an olive branch this morning, May even appeared to water down the pledge to force companies to put workers on management boards, says the BBC.

She said: "This is not about mandating works councils, or the direct appointment of workers or trade union representatives on boards. It will be a question of finding the model that works."

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