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We want a tough Budget, but not for ourselves

10 Jun 10

There is still more than a week to go before George Osborne’s first Budget and already there is no shortage of free advice for him. I wonder how much of it is really helping

The “emergency” Budget, set for 22 June, is going to be all about how the pain is to be shared. Osborne has said that he wants to take advice from the “brightest and best” experts as well as a “star chamber” of government ministers, and he has also called for a public consultation on tax and spending plans.

Just this week two of the biggest organisations representing business in the UK, the Institute of Directors and the Confederation of British Industry weighed in with their own views as to which sectors should be shown, and which spared, the axe.

The IoD, not surprisingly, wants to reduce the tax burden that currently, they say, penalises business growth. It also calls on the government not to raise capital gains tax, on grounds that this would hold back entrepreneurial ambition.

Meanwhile the CBI wants to see the deficit tackled, not through tax rises but through cuts in public spending – but it adds that capital infrastructure investment, and the loan guarantee scheme for small business, should be spared.

It would be a poor lobby group that could not construct an argument to say why its members, or the sector it represents, should not be counted as a special case because of its contribution to the economy or to society. In practice, though, this kind of pleading is not going to make Osborne's job any easier.


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Budget | George Osborne | CBI