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City rates the Budget 3.8 out of 10

ALISTAIR Darling must try harder. That was the verdict of our panel of City and business professionals, who gave the chancellor’s Budget on Wednesday a score of 3.8 out of 10.

The City A.M./PHI Panel, which has been specially recruited to represent London’s financial and business community, was asked to score some of the measures in what was probably Alistair Darling’s final budget.

Some business-friendly measures were well-received. The panel welcomed the introduction of a higher level of capital gains tax relief for entrepreneurs, giving it a score of 7.8 out of 10.

And a two-year holiday on stamp duty for first time buyers on houses worth less than £250,000 was also popular, with a score of 6.8.

But the introduction of a new 50p top rate of tax for those earning over £150,000 didn’t go down well, with panelists scoring the measure 3.6.

And the panel was sceptical over Darling’s growth forecasts for 2011-12, with over three quarters (77 per cent) saying they were either “fairly unrealistic” or “very unrealistic”.