Budget reaction: Accountants bored and suspicious

Link: Budget special

The ICAEW tax faculty was cautious in its welcoming of the chancellor’s proposals. ‘Bar hidden surprises in the budget bundle, the chancellor’s restraint in not introducing a plethora of new initiatives will be welcomed by business, which badly needs a period of stability after the tax complexities of recent years,’ it said.

But for Ernst & Young the 59-minute speech was a bore. ‘Each Budget seems more monumentally boring than the last, and a good thing too,’ said Ernst & Young tax partner Rosalind Upton.

‘We had the usual rhetoric about help to businesses and at least this time he seemed to be moving to meet small business’s concerns. For the larger business, there was nothing.’

For KPMG UK chief economist Andrew Smith, Brown was merely gambling. ‘As far as the public finances are concerned, the chancellor is betting heavily on an early economic recovery,’ he said.

Institute of Directors director general George Cox said this week’s events were largely irrelevant. ‘The problem essentially is not this year’s Budget it was last year’s,’ he said. ‘That was when the chancellor abandoned his earlier tight control of public finances and committed himself to a massive and sustained increase in expenditure.’

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