Gordon Brown has received a slap in the face for his spending review from finance directors across the UK.
More than two thirds (67%) of those questioned for this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Finance Big Question said the chancellor’s set piece had not increased confidence in Labour’s ability to run the economy. Just 20% felt confidence had increased in light of the review.
Brown insisted that his plans for the next three years shunned the traditional pre-election spending spree. But his prudence failed to impress FDs. John Davies, of Moore & Blatch, said: ‘Until people see tangible benefits being delivered as a consequence of Labour’s spending plans I do not think confidence will change significantly’.
Others said they would ‘wait and see’ whether additional spending could be managed without increased taxes or very high borrowing levels.
Even those who thought that the review had boosted confidence only gave it a luke-warm welcome.
‘It’s only a step in the right direction, not arrival at the destination. Producing the numbers is the easy bit,’ said one.
The good news for the chancellor, according to John Buckley, FD of Sauter Automation, is that the government is effectively bullet proof.
‘If it’s a disaster, nobody will ever be able to pin it on them. When they can go to war and kill thousands of innocent people for entirely false reasons and get away with it, what can’t they get away with?’ he said.