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21 November 2016

Theresa May to pledge lowest corporate tax in the G20

The Prime Minister is wooing businesses ahead of the Autumn Statement.

By Julia Rampen

Theresa May’s decision to prioritise immigration over the economy and criticise business elites set a new tone for the Conservatives, a traditionally pro-business party.

But the last few weeks have seen something of a pax Brexitana.

The Prime Minister is expected to tell the Confederation of British Industry “my aim is not simply for the UK to have the lowest corporate tax rate in the G20” but also a tax “that is profoundly pro-innovation”, according to the BBC.

In the Budget, the previous Chancellor George Osborne pledged to cut corporation tax to 17 per cent by 2020. May’s decision to reaffirm the pledge comes after Donald Trump, the US President-elect, promised to slash taxes.

May’s speech comes shortly after Google and Facebook pledged to invest in London offices – good news for the UK economy, but with the benefits once again concentrated in London and the South East.

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The government previously did a secret deal with Nissan, the car manufacturer in Sunderland, one of the areas of the North East that voted Leave. Its willingness to offer private reassurances without publicly revealing the details of the Brexit negotiations has been heavily criticised by Labour.

The question for May is whether she can restore the Conservatives’ business friendly image without reneging on her promises to the key voter group she has identified, the “just about managings”, and the wider group of “left behinds” who voted Brexit.