Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP consults local businesses on Lib Dem tax proposals

4.27.45pm BST (GMT +0100) Wed 11th Oct 2006

Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, Stephen Williams, is launching a new consultation survey for a selection of Bristol businesses, giving them the opportunity to respond to the Liberal Democrats' new tax proposals.

The planned reforms, entitled Fairer, Simpler, Greener, are founded upon radical changes to income tax and environmental levies and abolition of council tax. Mr Williams is also consulting the local business community on proposed changes to tax avoidance law, small business rates relief and the simplification of business property and corporation taxes.

Stephen Williams said "As a former tax consultant myself, I am acutely aware of the impact that changes to government tax policy can have on the behaviour and profitability of local businesses. Following my involvement in the Liberal Democrats tax commission over the last year, I am contacting local businesses because I would greatly appreciate their feedback on the nature of what we have planned. This could prove invaluable when it comes to working out the finer detail of our policy for the next general election and beyond."

The Fairer, Simpler, Greener proposals include:

Abolishing the existing 10p starting rate of income tax - removing one entire rate of tax and taking more than 2 million of the lowest earners out of tax altogether.

Raising the starting threshold for the 40% higher rate of taxation to £50,000 pa - taking 1.3 million people out of paying higher rate of tax.

Cutting the basic rate of national income tax by 2p, as part of a shift from central to local taxation.

Abolishing Council Tax and replacing it with a fairer local income tax based on ability to pay.

Simplifying the tax system for businesses, creating a simpler Corporation Tax structure by removing many complex reliefs (except those for small scale research and development, and those related to employee share ownership schemes) using the money raised to cut the Corporation Tax rate by 1p.

Small business rates relief, allowing firms with a rateable value of less than £25,000 to claim a business rate allowance of up to £1,500, paid for by a 1p per pound rise on liability rates for businesses with a total rateable value above £25,000.

Taxing small businesses on net cash flow - allowing them to pay corporation tax based on net operating cash flow rather than accounting profits, hugely simplifying the system and making avoidance more difficult.

More steeply graduating vehicle excise duty for new vehicles based on carbon emissions, and replacing the existing Airport Passenger Duty with an aircraft tax based on the emissions of each aircraft.

Full Liberal Democrat tax proposals can be downloaded at

Copies of the Business Survey available on request.

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