By Rebecca Burn-Callander Thursday, 29 November 2012

Don't be so stingy with the underspend, George, says CBI

The CBI has called on government to splash some of the cash it saved last year. There's a £7.8bn underspend, it says. Share!

Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the policy requests are coming in thick and fast. The British Retail Consortium was the first lobbying organisation to submit its list of preferred tweaks and now the CBI has weighed in too.

The CBI, which represents over 250,000 British businesses, has asked George Osborne to help lift the UK economy by spending some of the £7.8bn underspend from 2011. The government’s set to receive a further £4bn windfall from the auction of the 4G phone network later this year too, it points out. If just £1.5bn is siphoned out of these cash pools and spent on ‘short-term, high impact measures’, it could give the UK economy a real boost. It doesn't specify what these 'short-term, high impact measures' might be...

However, CBI director general John Cridland makes it clear that the organisation is still behind government’s efforts to cut our national debt: ‘The CBI fully supports the Government's deficit reduction plan,’ he says. ‘This is critical for the UK to keep the confidence of international markets.’

The CBI is also pushing the case for a business bank to help ease the flow of credit to struggling firms – Vince Cable will be delighted – and has reiterated that it is staunchly opposed to any reduction in pension tax relief. ‘Lowering the [tax relief] threshold below £50,000 is not a wealth tax - it's an income tax which would hit swathes of middle-income earners,’ says Cridland.

Will Osborne take the CBI’s recommendations into account? All will be revealed in his Autumn Statement on Wednesday.  


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