Outlook: Pre-Budget guff
Tuesday 09 November 1999
In practice it has been a bit of all three. The idea of "partnership" between business and government has strong "corporatist" under currents, and the Government appears more than willing to favour particular commercial interests over others for support in its social and educational aims.
On the other hand, the "rip-off" Britain campaign is plainly anti-corporatist in its objectives, as was the abolition of the tax credit on dividends, while quite a bit of Labour social policy is opposed by business large and small. At the same time, the Government's vocabulary is chock a block with "enterprise" rhetoric and there is a sincerely held belief among ministers, sometimes to the point of naivity, in the power of entrepreneurs to create jobs and wealth. They look at America and ask: "Why can't we be like that?"
Confused? You may well be after the "strategy for enterprise" due to be unveiled in Gordon Brown's pre-Budget statement today. So enamoured does the Chancellor seem with everything about America's amazing free market economy that it's a wonder he still bothers to worry about the euro; why don't we just join the US instead? Therein lies the rub, for it is not clear that the Chancellor in the end has the stomach for the creation of a genuine entrepreneurial economy. We'll have to await what Mr Brown has to say, of course, but the two foundation pillars of a dynamic free market economy are low taxation and minimum regulation. All the Chancellor's instincts will be pushing him in the other direction, as will Labour's policy agenda in other areas. Labour has so far been relatively successful in establishing the macro-economic stability business needs to succeed, but it is not clear the Government can or ought to be doing much else. Perhaps the best business can ever hope for from Government is that it simply stays out of the way. Not much chance of that with this lot.
In helping to bring about an entrepreneurial, modern economy, the Government should start with itself. What is the point of meaningless targets like the Government's farcical commitment to making Britain the e-commerce centre of the world by 2002 when its own departments are still living in the technological dark ages. If the Government were, say, to commit to making all government activity paperless within five years, that would be real progress, as well as a convincing boost to entrepreneurial Britain. But don't hold your breath.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...