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Boris Johnson Cancels 2020 Tax Cut for Businesses: U.K. Votes

Joe Mayes and Greg Ritchie

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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his Conservatives are canceling plans to cut corporation tax next April so the government can save money to spend more on voters’ priorities, including the state-funded National Health Service.

The rate was due to fall to 17% from 19%, but Johnson said businesses had already gained from a succession of corporation tax cuts in recent years. He spoke to the Confederation of British Industry to try to get the focus of his general election campaign on his Conservative Party’s pro-business policies.

Must Read: What Scares Business More: Brexit or Corbyn? U.K. Campaign Trail

Key Developments:

Johnson tells CBI he will keep Sajid Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer after electionJohnson also says corporation tax cut will have to waitJeremy Corbyn tells CBI Labour would keep U.K. close to or inside the EU -- and the richest must pay more taxLiberal Democrats and SNP court case over their omission from ITV leaders’ debate on TuesdayA Survation poll for Monday’s Good Morning Britain TV show put the Tories on 42%, Labour on 28%, the Liberal Democrats on 13% and the Brexit Party on 5%

Lib Dems, SNP Lose Case Over ITV Election Debate (4:30 p.m.)

The Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party lost their suit against broadcaster ITV over a head-to-head television debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

“The TV debate scheduled for tomorrow evening between the leaders of the Conservative party and Labour party can lawfully go ahead,” Judge Nigel Davis said in London’s High Court.

The two parties argued that ITV’s decision to exclude them breached impartiality rules because an anti-Brexit perspective won’t be heard. The broadcaster had said it would cancel the debate if it lost the case.

Swinson Attacks ‘Extreme’ Labour and Tories (3:30 p.m.)

Jo Swinson said she would not help either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister if they come up short of a majority after the Dec. 12 election. Both Labour and the Conservatives have moved so far to extremes that she’s not even sure her party could support them with new leaders, she told Bloomberg TV.

“We’re being very clear: we’re not going to support Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn,” the Liberal Democrat leader said. “Both of those parties have moved to extremes under those leaders, so it’s not at all clear that even if the leader changed the direction of travel would be any less extreme.”

Swinson did leave open the possibility of working with fellow anti-Brexit MPs in the new Parliament. “What we will do is that for every Liberal Democrat MP we have is work to stop Brexit and work to pursue the other priorities we’re outlining in our plan for the future,” she said. “In the last few years, we have worked constructively with people of all different parties.”

Swinson said the Liberal Democrats, if they win a majority, would abolish Business Rates and replace them with a Commercial Landowner Levy, which would be based on the value of land. The move would cut taxes for businesses in 92% of local authority areas in the U.K., the party said.

Swinson Makes Lib Dem Business Pitch (2:40 p.m.)

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said her party is the “natural party of business” because it wants to keep the U.K. in the EU. Being part of one of the most successful economic blocs in the world is the best guarantee for British businesses, she said.

“If you want to get Brexit done, or get Brexit sorted, you are not the party of business,” Swinson said in a speech to business leaders at the CBI conference in southeast London. “With the Conservatives in the pocket of Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn stuck in the 1970s, we are the only ones standing up for you.”

“If we don’t win a majority, we will still want to stop Brexit and will continue to pursue a People’s Vote,” Swinson said when asked about the terms under which she would enter a coalition government.

Corbyn Sets Out Nationalization Plans (1:27 p.m.)

Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed the businesses that his Labour Party will want to take government control of if he wins power. As well as broadband infrastructure, there’s Royal Mail Plc, the operation of the railways, water companies, and the electricity grid.He also said he would be encouraging local authorities throughout the country to take control of bus services, which in most of the country outside London are run by private companies. That could affect companies including Stagecoach Group Plc, Go-Ahead Group Plc and Firstgroup Plc.

“We need to integrate bus and rail services, we need to re-empower local authorities to develop bus services if they wish,” Corbyn told Bloomberg television. He insisted his plans shouldn’t scare business. “I’m not proposing massive nationalization. What I’m more interested in is a growing economy with a more skilled workforce.”

He said his plan for closing the poll gap with Boris Johnson’s Conservatives was to “campaign, get our message across.”

On the question of whether he’d ask Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to stay on, he said he’d made no commitments to anyone, but “we’ve worked very well with Mark Carney up to now.”

Corbyn Insists He’s Fighting Antisemitism (12:15 p.m.)

Jeremy Corbyn defended himself against charges that antisemitism has flourished within his Labour Party. Asked at the Confederation of British Industry conference in London if Labour was “for the many, not the Jew,” Corbyn replied: “I have lived my whole life as somebody who hates racism in every form whatsoever.”

Corbyn Calls Out Miners Over Damage (12 p.m.)

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called on commodity and oil companies to be socially responsible and consider their environmental impact.

While acknowledging that many have social impact funds and support community projects, Corbyn said he is concerned by “the behavior of very big oil and mineral companies in other countries and the environmental problems” they cause. A Labour government would work with the companies to rectify issues, he said.

Corbyn: Labour Isn’t Anti-Business (11:38 a.m.)

Jeremy Corbyn said his opposition Labour Party isn’t anti-business. Speaking to the CBI conference, he said he wouldn’t apologize for wanting to raise taxes on the richest and for planning to take key businesses into public ownership.

“It’s not anti-business to be against poverty pay,” he said. “It’s not anti-business to say the largest corporations should pay their taxes just as smaller companies do. It’s not anti-business to want prosperity in every part of our country, not only in the financial center of the City of London.”

Crucially, he said Labour would keep Britain close to, or inside, the European Union.

Johnson: I’ll Keep Javid as Chancellor (11:20 a.m.)

Boris Johnson has confirmed that Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid will keep his job if the Conservatives win the election. “I will keep Sajid Javid as my Chancellor,” the prime minister told the CBI conference. “I think he’s a great guy, he’s doing a fantastic job and I’m proud to have him as a colleague.”

Johnson Scraps Corporation Tax Cut (11:15 a.m.)

Boris Johnson said he’s postponing a plan to cut corporation tax, paid by business, saving the government 6 billion pounds ($7.8 billion) to spend on priorities such as the NHS. “It is the fiscally responsible thing to do at the current time,” he told business leaders at the Confederation of British Industry conference in London.

Corporation tax was due to fall to 17% from 19% next April. Canceling that puts the pre-announced Conservative Party plan to lower business taxes by around 1 billion pounds into perspective.

The move will save the government money to “put into the priorities of the British people,” Johnson said. “We proudly back business across this country because we understand it is you who is creating the wealth that pays for the NHS,” he said. “And by the way, because the NHS is the nation’s priority and because we believe emphatically in fiscal prudence I hope you won’t mind that we also announce today that we are postponing further cuts in corporation tax.”

Johnson Pitches Brexit Certainty to Business (10:55 a.m.)

Boris Johnson made his pitch to business leaders at the confederation of British Industry conference in London: let him get Brexit out of the way, and use the ensuing certainty to help the economy grow. The prime minister said the U.K. economy “is still not achieving what it should” and had “so much more natural energy waiting to be unleashed.”

He said his Brexit deal “gives business complete stability and certainty as we come out in January.” He also added a new line to his repertoire about leaving the EU, that it would make people feel better: “It’s time for us to get Brexit done because it’s the best thing for our national mood.”

CBI’s Allan Criticizes Politicians’ Brexit Failings (10:30 a.m.)

John Allan, president of the Confederation of British Industry, criticized political parties for failing to offer pro-business solutions to the Brexit gridlock at the general election, which he described as “kryptonite” for investment.

“It’s not as simple as getting Brexit done, sorting Brexit in 6 months or stopping Brexit,” Allan said at the CBI’s annual conference in London. said, referring to the various parties’ election promises on Brexit. “Whatever happens in this election we’ll be negotiating with the EU for years to come.”

Leaders to Address CBI Business Lobby (10 a.m.)

Attendees at Monday’s Confederation of British Industry conference will be faced with very different economic options: A large regulatory border between the U.K. and the European Union offered by Boris Johnson, who reportedly dismissed the concerns of industry over Brexit with a four-letter epithet, or Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to nationalize key utilities if he wins power.

Johnson will address the conference in London first, offering an olive branch of tax cuts worth an estimated 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) to make up for the disruption of Brexit. “Let’s not beat around the bush, big business didn’t want Brexit,” Johnson will say, according to speech extracts released in advance. “But what is also clear is that what you want now -- and have wanted for some time -- is certainty.”

A very different view will be represented by Corbyn, who speaks after Johnson. Labour has already promised tax rises both for business and for the wealthy. On Friday, the party shocked industry by announcing that if it won the election, it would take the U.K.’s broadband infrastructure into public ownership.

Arcuri Had ‘Very Special Relationship’ With Johnson (8 a.m.)

Jennifer Arcuri, the American businesswoman at the center of a controversy over her ties to Boris Johnson, again refused to confirm directly whether she had an affair with the prime minister during his time as London mayor.

“As you can tell there was a very special relationship there,” she said in a live broadcast interview on ITV on Monday. Arcuri insisted she was not a “victim” and had entered her relationship with Johnson willingly, but said she wanted him to call her to acknowledge she’d been made “collateral damage in his quest for greatness.”

In the interview, she described an occasion when she asked Johnson how many children he has. He responded by saying there were four by his second wife, and indicated another child had been born to a former lover. Johnson declined to answer in a recent broadcast interview when he was asked how many children he has.

Controversy surrounding Arcuri has threatened to blight Johnson’s Dec. 12 election campaign. The Independent Office for Police Conduct agency is reviewing whether to open a criminal investigation into Johnson’s links with the U.S. technology entrepreneur during his time as mayor of London. Arcuri has acknowledged that her cyber-security business, Hacker House, benefited from joining a mayoral trade mission to Tel Aviv in November 2015.


Johnson Offers Business an Olive Branch as U.K. Election Revs UpWhat Scares Business More: Brexit or Corbyn? U.K. Campaign TrailWhy U.K. Conservatives Are So Good at Winning: Tim Bale

--With assistance from Greg Ritchie, Jessica Shankleman, Robert Hutton, Anna Edwards, Guy Johnson and Ellen Milligan.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Mayes in London at jmayes9@bloomberg.net;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs

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