A straw poll immediately after today’s announcements found that 70% of the specially-selected panel did not have their confidence boosted by the measures in Gordon Brown’s statement.
However, half the panel believe the PBR helped boost Labour’s chance of re-election next year. Only a tiny minority thought Brown damaged his party’s general election chances.
There was an belief that the chancellor did not do enough for small or big business. At least two thirds of the panel held this view, implying that Brown did not do enough to placate corporate interests.
The PBR contained a raft of measures to clampdown on tax avoidance by big corporates and the film industry.
The chancellor has introduced steps to simplify the tax ragime for small businesses, enabling them file a single return for both corporate tax and VAT.
Brown said in his statement that he would meet the his Golden Rule on borrowing and his forecast growth figures for 2004 and 2005.