Director General of the IoD, Simon Walker, has applauded the canny and caution prevalent within chancellor George Osborne’s sixth budget – the last before the General Election on Thursday 7 May – which included tax breaks for savers, a commitment to use the proceeds from bank sales to pay down debt and a raising of the tax-free personal allowance
“This was a solid and responsible budget,” said Walker. “Few chancellors would be able to resist the temptation to binge on a £22bn windfall from the sale of bank shares this close to an election. By using it to pay down our national debt George Osborne has shown commendable discipline.”
According to Walker, the day’s announcements reinforced the notion that Britain’s economy is on the up. “Whilst some may have expected more rabbits from the hat, today’s employment figures and the revised OBR growth forecasts prove there’s definitely something of the Duracell bunny to Britain’s economic recovery,” he said.
Walker went on to point out that mid-sized businesses, in particular, would be disappointed not to see further action on the burden of employers’ National Insurance Contributions, and that he would have welcomed a confirmation that the existing Annual Investment Allowance of £500,000 would not be reduced.
On the whole, though, Walker described the budget as “a testament to this government’s support for enterprise” and “evidence of the tenacity and resilience of UK businesses”.
In his opening remarks, George Osborne had described the budget as one “that takes Britain on one big step on the road from austerity to prosperity”. Ed Miliband said that Osborne had “failed working families” with “a budget that people won’t believe from a government that is not on their side.”