Chancellor for a day: Luke Johnson

Channel 4's chairman is first up in our new series which asks: what would you do if you were Chancellor?

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Luke Johnson

Assuming I was rather more than chancellor, and in full charge of government, I would ...

- Institute a moratorium of much employment legislation for companies employing fewer than 100 staff. Small businesses - which provide most new jobs - should be encouraged to hire and retain workers. They need relief from the bureaucracy.

- Cut employer National Insurance by half. Again, it would encourage employers to keep staff and make hiring new staff cheaper.

- Provide a government facility to underwrite credit insurance so that suppliers can trade with confidence. The abandonment of whole industrial sectors by the oligarchy of credit insurers means that many industries are seizing up, exaggerating the damage of the credit crunch.

- Close public-sector defined-benefit pension schemes. These are a huge cost to the taxpayer and a gross inequality between the public and private sector.

- Scrap incapacity benefit for those claiming depression or stress. It's a malingerers' charter.

- Refuse to make any further net contributions to the EU until its annual accounts are signed off in a timely fashion. This would save money and/or help rid the EU of corruption.

- Ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament to form a coalition government. Such a step would help boost confidence and provide some desperately needed fresh thinking.

- Permit pension schemes to ignore current gilt yields when calculating their obligations. This would mean fewer plans would have such gaping deficits, which are giving many companies a huge extra problem to deal with.

- Introduce welfare-to-work schemes with private-sector contractors. The huge growth in unemployment in the next 36 months means there will be large numbers who must re-train. Projects should be launched to qualify them in areas of skill shortage.

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