Tax could be 'new political battleground', says leading fiscal expert
TAX could form the "new political battleground" in today's Budget, a leading fiscal expert says.
Allister Weir (right), director of tax at Grant Thornton in the South West, says the Chancellor's speech comes at a crucial time for the Coalition Government with him needing to promote growth though having little room for manoeuvre.
He said Tories and Lib Dems will want to show a tough stance against "abusive" tax planning, with the next general election nearing.
"The main tension is likely to be around issues such as taxing the wealthy – how far can you go without stalling growth? And how can you stimulate the economy when there is little money to spend?" he said.
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Mr Weir, whose firm has a Plymouth office in The Crescent, expects Mr Osborne to focus on anti-avoidance today.
"Barely a week passes without an anti-avoidance news story so it will be no surprise to see the Chancellor wanting to give the message that the Coalition is taking action," he said.
The Government will also want to announce measures to promote growth, such as a cut to corporation tax or changes to capital allowance rates, but Mr Weir said: "The Chancellor will need to be imaginative as there is little spare cash available."
He added: "The Budget is set to include measures regarding employment-related share schemes, following consultations into aspects of this popular method of incentivising employees."