On the tax lock:
Tom Elliott, private clients partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill, said: "While holding the rates sounds like good news, there is still room to increase the tax take by restricting allowances (for example, higher rate tax relief on pension contributions). Also, there is no guarantee on the rate of CGT or IHT – while there was a pre-election promise to increase the IHT threshold for ‘family homes’, no mention was made in the speech – perhaps there is more to come on 8 July?”
Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: “While IoD members are opposed to increases in the rates of VAT, income tax and National Insurance, we consider it imperative that the Government’s commitments do not prevent bold tax reforms to both simplify taxation and reduce the burden upon businesses and individuals. Ensuring that the UK tax system remains responsive to tax reforms introduced by our European and global competitors must be a government priority."
Mark Littlewood, director general at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: "Today’s announcement saw constitutional matters overshadow the UK’s pressing economic challenges. While commitments to tax locks and deregulation are welcome, it is vital that the government redoubles its efforts on tackling the deficit and balancing the books. Regrettably, some of government’s proposals will see the role of the state further expanded into people’s lives."
On the EU referendum:
On jobs and enterprise bills:
The IEA's Littlewood said: “Lowering the benefit cap is a step in the right direction but many of the gains will be offset by the need to pay for three million more apprenticeships. The government needs to be bolder still in the area of welfare reform, particularly in pushing ahead with a clear work requirement."
On English devolution:
Paul McFarlane, partner at Weightmans LLP, said: “Today’s announcement has drawn the battle lines between the unions and the new government and we could well be entering into a period of increased industrial unrest. Given Len McCluskey’s recent comments on this issue we may even see unlawful ‘wildcat’ strike action in response."