From the TUC

Budget Reaction – CBI get it wrong again!

24 Mar 2010, by in Economics, Pensions & Investment

I’m rather disappointed by the immediate reaction to the Budget from the CBI. They do seem to have missed the target again.

In his response, Richard Lambert, CBI Director General, has called this a “clever, political Budget”, expressed anxiety about the repaying of the deficit and welcomed support for business as “modest but helpful”. He then adds, intriguingly, “However, it is the fiscal decisions over the next twelve months that will really determine the UK’s economic future.”

Surely that’s too simplistic?

There are a huge number of factors that will determine the UK’s economic future. By setting a course for investment in strategic, green industries today, the Chancellor has established an exciting direction of travel for UK industry. Richard Lambert himself mentions the extra money for science places at university, which will be part of a drive for UK excellence in industries that provide growth, competitiveness, exports and jobs in the years to come.

These announcements are very welcome for the TUC. And given the many manufacturers in the CBI, surely they are welcome at Centre Point as well?

None of us like paying tax. But if the deficit is a cause for anxiety, it is inevitable that tax must play its part in getting the books in order. Saving £11bn through greater “efficiency”, as the Chancellor announced today, stretches credibility to breaking point. These cuts will hit our communities hard, yet it seems that the CBI would rather they take even more of a hit than for people, including some very well paid people, to contribute a bit more in tax.

This will be a key debate throughout the election campaign and beyond. The TUC will argue against cuts which threaten the fabric of our society. And in favour of progressive taxation, where those who can pay more and those who did most to cause the downturn (who are often the very same people) pay their fair share.

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