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Lawyers welcome Budget tax changes

Posted by: Laurence Simons 27/03/13

People in lawyer jobs have been acutely aware of the UK's faltering economy over the last few years - while it is easy to dismiss legal services as existing in an ivory tower far removed from the day-to-day concerns of less prestigous trades, the contraction in regional law firms' budgets and the difficulty in maintaining London's position as a global business hub have ensured lawyers take notice of the situation.

With this in mind, a number of legal professionals welcomed chancellor George Osborne's latest Budget as a happy suggestion that everything might not be going down the plughole after all.

His plan to cut the corporate tax rate has been especially pleasing to many lawyers, especially given that growth rates have been further revised downwards for the UK, according to Legal Week.

Ashurst tax partner Richard Palmer noted that bringing the corporation tax down by one per cent to 20 per cent from 2015 could inject new life into the country's economy and encourage "more foreign multinationals to locate headquarter plural? and holding activity in the UK".

This would be good news for corporate lawyers, and could also see an increase in opportunities for in-house lawyers looking to get involved in the internal teams of large companies.

When the new rate is brought in, the UK will join Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia as the joint lowest in the G20 group of countries, hopefully enhancing its reputation as a go-to destination for big companies.

CMS Cameron McKenna tax head Richard Croker described the move as "very welcome", adding: "For its own sake, the UK's tax competitiveness, and simplification - the alignment with the small profits rate removes the complications of tapering."

This follows comments from secretary of state for justice Chris Grayling, who argued that London's reputation as a centre for high-quality legal services can play an important role in getting the UK's economy back on track.