George Osborne must stop “tinkering around the edges” and take radical steps to kick-start the economy, a Lancashire business leader has said.
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said the Chancellor’s next Budget in the Spring required “truly radical and large-scale choices” if he was serious about bringing long term growth.
On Wednesday, Mr Osborne was forced to admit the country’s debt as a proportion of GDP would not start falling until 2015/16 because of the worse-than-expected state of the economy.
He also had to reveal he expects the economy to shrink by 0.1% this year.
Babs Murphy said the Chancellor would have to look again at the amount of financial aid it sends overseas and the “gargantuan scale of the welfare state” if it is serious about getting the economy growing again.
She said: “Only a wholesale re-prioritisation of resources, to unlock private sector finance, investment and jobs, will be enough to win the ‘economic war’ we are facing.
“The danger is that our political class is sleepwalking with its eyes open.”
Rob Dobson, a corporate partner at Preston law firm Napthens, warned that further cuts in public spending could “wipe out” potential growth.
He welcomed the decision to cancel the escalator on fuel duty which has halted a planned 3p rise in fuel duty and plans to create a business bank to boost lending.