Page last updated at 05:34 GMT, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Business leaders criticise Budget

Alistair Darling
Mr Darling's Budget has dented confidence, say business leaders

More than two thirds of business leaders think Chancellor Alistair Darling is doing a bad job, a survey by the Institute of Directors suggests.

The poll of 1,200 members suggested 45% thought Wednesday's budget would damage the economy, while 16% said it would be positive. The rest were neutral.

Respondents were also sceptical about government plans to cut the fiscal deficit by a half within four years.

The chancellor was also accused of ducking the issue of debt reduction.

'Confidence dented'

The survey, carried out in the 24 hours after the chancellor's budget speech, suggested 64% business leaders thought the fiscal deficit would get worse following the budget.

A further 12% thought it would get better, and the rest were unsure.

Director general, Miles Templeman, said: "It's deeply worrying that instead of boosting confidence, the budget appears to have had the opposite effect.

"There is a clear perception among business leaders that this was a bad budget because it ducked the big issue of the day, which is debt reduction.

"This reinforces our conviction that until the government produces a credible plan to tackle the deficit and begins to implement that plan, business confidence will continue to be dented."

The government believes its policies will reduce borrowing without damaging the prospects for recovery.

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