Union Budget 2018: UKIBC expects corporate tax cut and labour reform

The UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has appealed to the finance minister to reduce corporate tax and remove FDI restrictions on certain sectors in the forthcoming Budget 2018.

"We have urged the government to reduce corporate tax, and a simpler and more predictable tax regime that encourages UK investments in India. We are also seeking more labour reforms and simpler ease of doing business in India, which provides huge business opportunity for British companies," UKIBC chief operating officer Kevin McCole told PTI here.

More than any other country, UK businesses are taking the investment opportunities in India. The UK is the largest G20 investor in India, with around USD 24 billion invested in the country. At the same time, India is the fourth largest destination for investments from UK companies.

The 30-place jump made by India in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business (EODB) rankings, from 130 to 100, is an encouraging step in the right direction for businesses in India. "We have seen an evolution in the government's efforts to rise even higher up the ranking," McCole said.

We are also looking for more labour reform as UK businesses make a huge contribution to the Indian growth story, employing over 780,000 Indians, which is 5.5 per cent of the country's organised private sector workforce, he added.

The UK and India's current business relationship is very strong but, there is an immense scope to enhance this relationship further. The UK business, largely remains positive about the Indian opportunity and welcome the reforms being introduced by the government, but certain intrinsic challenges remain.

These impact the investment decisions of UK businesses and not just those already in India, but others considering international investments and weighing the options to enter the Indian market, he added.

McCole said that the UK firms are hopeful that FDI restrictions needs to be removed from legal firms and architectural space. We hope that the Budget will set the pace for a more competitive business environment in India, with further protection for foreign investors.

The UKIBC and the CBI have made a joint submission to the Finance Minister setting out what British investors would like to see in the Indian budget. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Budget on February 1.

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