Chancellor fails to impress

Link: Pre-Budget report special

Gordon Brown may have introduced measures in his pre-Budget report to encourage enterprise, but nearly one in three finance directors believe these are unlikely to help the economy or their business.

This week’s Accountancy Age/ Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question reveals just 29% of finance directors are distinctly less confident about their business prospects over the next year following the pre-Budget report.

Of those polled, 27% are more confident about their company’s success following the chancellor’s speech, while 44% believe that the speech had little bearing whatsoever on them.

Even among those who expressed confidence in their prospects, little credit for that was actually given to chancellor Brown or the government.

Indeed there was still a degree of cynicism from those happy with business.

‘I feel reasonably confident about our business, but I think the Budget is a waste of time and there is little that can be done anymore,’ said one finance director. Another FD highlighted what many others thought: ‘Businesses would be on the up regardless of the pre-Budget report.’

Others, however, are much less optimistic about the economy and their own prospects and saw the report as another signal of this. ‘I am slightly less confident of growth prospects now as I’m anticipating a fall in consumer demand,’ said one respondent. ‘Times are hard enough now and the pre-Budget report did not give out the right signs to the public,’ said another.

Some also believe the chancellor has got his sums wrong and that the UK economy could end up paying the price for this miscalculation. Comments such as ‘the chancellor will have to find £20bn from somewhere at some point’ and ‘I think taxes are going to go up’ expressed the views of many dissatisfied with the contents of the report.

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