Firms call for tax breaks for infrastructure

Marion Dakers
BUSINESSES want the chancellor to revive plans to inject cash into large road and rail upgrades with tax breaks, a survey out today suggests.

Senior tax professionals at some of Britain’s biggest firms put tax incentives for those investing in infrastructure at the top of their wish list for next week’s Autumn Statement.

Tax credits for big capital projects would help create jobs while boosting the coalition’s own targets for large-scale infrastructure improvements, according to a poll of 57 firms by KPMG.

“The current tax system actually deters capital investment, for example, in new power stations, waste plants, roads and rail and other capital projects. UK is the only G20 country which does not give tax relief for this expenditure,” said Margaret Stephens, global head of infrastructure tax at the professional services firm.

Last year, George Osborne used his Autumn Statement to launch an updated National Infrastructure Plan, which aims to pour both public and private sector money into upgrading roads, rail and utilities. Large pension funds, however, have recently complained that investing in such schemes is not yet worthwhile.

The survey suggested that a jolt to infrastructure investment could prompt firms to add thousands of jobs.

Many companies are also keen for a drop in corporate taxes or national insurance, as well as tax relief on other types of investment, KPMG found.