UK push for growth expected - but will it be enough?

Aug 22, 2012

Chancellor urged by business leaders to move quickly as poll shows just 16% of voters trust him

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THE government is set to unveil a number of measures next month to boost jobs and growth, The Guardian reports today, as Chancellor George Osborne comes under increasing pressure from senior figures in both coalition parties, and from Labour's business spokesman Chuka Umunna, to pull the country out of recession.

The "coordinated push for growth" will include liberalising planning laws and guaranteeing more capital expenditure on house-building and infrastructure projects.

But will such measures kick in quickly enough?

Following yesterday's revelation that the government has raised far less money from taxing businesses in July than anticipated, the business leaders of the Institute of Directors (IoD) say Osborne is doing "too little, too slowly" to promote economic growth while a new ComRes poll suggests that just 16 per cent of voters say they trust him in the current economic situation.
As The Times reports, the Treasury took 20 per cent less in corporation tax in July than it did in the same month last year. This, coupled with a 6.2 per cent rise in state spending on benefits, forced the government to borrow £600m.
That monthly shortfall came as a big surprise to City analysts, who had expected a £2.5bn surplus, not a deficit. In July 2011, the Government enjoyed a £2.8bn surplus. Now Osborne is awaiting an October ruling from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) on whether the gap will have to be filled with additional cuts.
In the meantime, the IoD wants Osborne to cut taxes, reduce red tape and invest in infrastructure to kick-start the economy. As The Daily Telegraph reports, a similar call came from Tory MP John Redwood who used his blog to beg the Chancellor to cut taxes to "competitive rates" on his blog.
For Labour, shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said the coalition's policies were "ineffective at every level".

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves asked: "What more evidence does the government need that their plan has failed and they need to change course?"

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