City prefers Boris ahead of Osborne

BORIS Johnson would make a better future Prime Minister than George Osborne, according to the City A.M. / PoliticsHome Voice of the City panel.

Of those who expressed a preference, fifty-seven per cent said theywould pick Johnson, the Mayor of London, (inset picture) as the next Tory leader compared to just 43 per cent for Osborne, the chancellor.

The choice of Johnson over Osborne is sure to irk the chancellor, who is widely seen as the heir apparent to David Cameron. It echoes a similar set of findings published by City A.M. before the election, when the same panel said Ken Clarke would make a better chancellor.

The results suggest Osborne has yet to “seal the deal” with the City. In a set of findings that will make grim reading for the chancellor, over two thirds of panellists (69 per cent) said the Conservative party was not doing enough to promote economic growth, which is Osborne’s main responsibility.

Yesterday, business minister Mark Prisk said the government was finding it difficult to boost growth by cutting red tape, admitting “I don’t think [firms] are on the ground seeing that change”.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Conservative conference in Manchester, he likened the government’s attempt at deregulation to “turning around a tanker” and said civil servants were ingrained with a “culture of regulation being seen as the first reaction”.

Meanwhile, Osborne is expected to use his speech to conference today to announce plans to freeze council tax next year, allowing the Conservatives to honour a manifesto commitment to freeze the levy for two years in a row.

The move will save the average family £72 in 2012-13 and is expected to cost the exchequer around £850m, which will be funded by using “Whitehall underspend” – money that departments were expected to spend but haven’t.