Osborne is wrong to think that he can pick winners

(Source: Reuters)

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that there will be more measures to support specific industries that he sees as a success:

It's great that Osborne has recognised the importance of reducing the tax burden in helping industry, but why is he backing just the one? This has become typical of a chancellor who seems to think himself above the rest. To know what we'll want ahead the rest of us. Who knows what technologies may emerge and how tastes may change.

The truth is that none of us can know, and to back one industry over others will put British entrepreneurs in a straitjacket. Their decisions will be constrained by past trends, while having to react to present and future demands. This inflexibility is no good for consumers, and serves to protect already successful corporations.

A more pro-consumer and pro-business move would be to reduce taxation more comprehensively. Cut corporation tax further to make Britain more appealing to foreign firms, axe the jobs tax - employer national insurance contributions - or any other number of taxes that serve to make enterprise less competitive.

While Osborne wouldn't be able to claim success (as he will surely attempt to in favouring the creative industries), this less arrogant approach would be preferable. The chancellor may know what's good for him, but he can't know what will be best for the rest of us.