City: Chancellor must do more to promote growth

VOICE OF THE CITY

GEORGE Osborne is not doing enough to promote growth in the UK economy, according to members of the City A.M. / PoliticsHome Voice of the City panel.

In a set of findings that will make uncomfortable reading for the chancellor, 64 per cent of the panel said he was not doing enough to promote growth, compared to 31 per cent who said he was and five per cent who did not know.

Panellists called on Osborne to adopt so-called “supply side reforms” to boost the economy, such as slashing red tape on businesses and lowering taxes.

“Osborne knows what needs to be done to get the economy back on track but is scared to make bigger cuts and simultaneously reduce tax rates for fear of losing votes and jeopardising his party’s chances of staying in government,” said one member of the panel.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent of panellists said Osborne was wrong to continue with the previous Labour government’s policy of a 50 per cent income tax on earnings over £150,000. Thirty-eight per cent said he was right to keep the policy while two per cent said they did not know.

One panel member said: “He was right for political reasons not to have immediately cut the 50 per cent rate in his first Budget. But by his 2012 Budget he should give a definite date for it being cut.”

Over half of panellists (51 per cent) said they did not think Osborne was genuinely committed to implementing the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking, chaired by Sir John Vickers. Twenty per cent said he was committed while 29 per cent did not know.

Panellists were also asked to summarise George Osborne in one word. The most common word was “competent”, although words such as “smug”, “weak”, “young” and “inexperienced” were also popular among members of the panel.

• City A.M. and PoliticsHome interviewed 440 members of the Voice of the City panel by email last week. Members have been specially recruited to represent a cross section of London’s financial and business community.

Members of the panel that respond to at least 80 per cent of surveys between now and September will be entered into a prize draw to win a luxury weekend in Paris. Full Ts&Cs available on request. New members can apply to join at cityam.com/panel

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