Monday, October 18, 2010

Business backing for George Osborne's spending cuts.

Well, here's a surprise:

The leaders of 35 of the UK's biggest companies have expressed their support for the government's plans for spending cuts running into billions of pounds.

The bosses of Marks and Spencer, BT and GlaxoSmithKline are among those to have signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph.

They write that it would be a "mistake" for Chancellor George Osborne to water down his programme for reducing the budget deficit.

Mr Osborne will announce details of the Spending Review on Wednesday.

The bosses wrote in their letter to the Telegraph that there was no reason to believe Mr Osborne's approach would undermine any recovery.

They said: "Addressing the debt problem in a decisive way will improve business and consumer confidence.

"Reducing the deficit more slowly would mean additional borrowing every year, higher national debt, and therefore higher spending on interest payments."

"The private sector should be more than capable of generating additional jobs to replace those lost in the public sector," the signatories also claim.

So, a group of Conservative supporting business leaders think it's a great idea to slash welfare rather than increase taxation. Who could have seen that coming?

And they also think that the private sector is "more than capable" of replacing jobs lost through Osborne's cuts. Let's see how that works out.

And, as Robert Peston points out, one of their comments borders on the laughable.

The 35 also make one statement that will amuse many economists. They say "everyone knows that when you have a debt problem, delaying the necessary action will make it worse not better".

That may be true of individuals and even for most businesses. But there is a whole school of economists, largely those who call themselves Keynesian in some way, who would describe that statement as laughable.

They would argue that it was the application of prudent principles of personal finance to the level of the state that was to a large extent responsible for the severity of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The unions are dead set against it, and the business leaders are writing to the papers announcing their support. It's like we are back in the eighties. There must be a Tory government in power.

Click here for full article.

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