• Tax complaints

There has been a collective scream from the UK hotel sector as details of the Budget are being digested.

Hotels look set to be big losers thanks to the abolition of Industrial Buildings Allowances and the separate reduction to Plant and Machinery Allowances.

But the news is most bleak for smaller, independent owner-operators, who will now be further disadvantaged compared to the bigger corporates.

While the axed and reduced allowances helped pay for a cut to 28% from 30% in corporation tax, small companies (those with profits under £300,000) face an increase in their tax rate to 22% from 19%.

There was however a glint of light for small companies in that they have what is in effect a 100% capital allowance on investments up to £50,000 through the Annual Investment Allowance.

At this point, your correspondent’s eyes began to glaze over. The sheer complexity of the changes make a rational assessment of which groups won or lost next to impossible: it can only be done on an individual case by individual case basis.

And here is the real lobbying issue. Rather than banging on about particular tax changes, tweaks and adjustments, want is needed is for there to be no change.

One of the key reasons for our current record run of prosperity around the world is that, by and large, inflation has been kept under control and stable business environments have been maintained. Less has truly been more.

It is this message that needs taking to governments rather than some partisan bundle of issues which are all too easily seen through as self-serving.

We need fewer campaigns for special favours, such as that mounted by the British Hospitality Association calling for a reduction in VAT on accommodation, and more attention paid to reducing the unnecessary mountains of red tape and arcane tax law that only make more money for advisers.

You cannot go to government making a special interest case and then expect the bureaucrats not to stifle business through over regulation and general interference. The hospitality industry is, in almost every country around the world, one of the strongest and fastest growing industries. It is robust enough not to need special hand-outs. Rather, a level playing field should be the aim.

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