On the money with Gavin Hinks

Gordon Brown throws himself into his campaign to become leader of the Labour
Party and future prime minister. Shortly afterwards the ICAEW releases the
latest instalment in its UK Business Confidence Monitor, revealing that
businessmen are feeling quite alright, thank you very much, and the future has a
silver lining.

In his comments, Michael Izza, Institute chief executive, mentions that the
cut in corporation tax announced in the March Budget is probably responsible for
the warm fuzzy feeling that businesses are feeling at the moment.

News of the monitor would have come as a welcome boost to Brown’s campaign.
He’s been criticised for being ‘old Labour’ and too eager to be redistributive,
but somehow he’s pulled off the trick of convincing business that the future is

What’s interesting is not whether he’s right, but the fact that business,
traditionally the constituency Labour finds most awkward to deal with, seems at
ease with Brown’s economic stewardship. And you would think this would be a
moment to stick the boot in and make life difficult for the chancellor as he
lobbies for the top job.

It’s a testament to how far Labour has moved that it can do this. It used to
be that inside Labour big business was bad and the public sector was all
important. But this view is a thing of the long-distant past. As the confidence
monitor suggests, you can blow billions on the NHS and business will still be

Will Brown maintain these good relations once he is PM? His attention is
going to be elsewhere – for a start foreign policy, which means he may have less
time to monitor

these happy relations. While confidence is high now, who can tell whether it
will be for long?

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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