Budget 2009: Third of business leaders can see green shoots

Chancellor will claim 500,000 jobs were saved by action to stave off recession

Three in 10 businessmen detect the "green shoots" of economic recovery, according to a ComRes survey of 230 business leaders for
The Independent. The proportion who see signs of a revival in their own sector has risen from 18 per cent in February to 29 per cent this month.

The findings will be a fillip to Alistair Darling as he tries to deliver an upbeat message about post-recession Britain in today's Budget. But the Chancellor will say that the recovery will not start until the end of this year – six months later than he predicted last November.

As a result, public borrowing will rise to a post-war record of around £170bn. He is expected to map out a programme of public spending curbs and higher taxes for the well-off to try to balance the nation's books over several years. But any tax rises are unlikely to take effect until after a general election next year.

According to ComRes, the proportion of businessmen who have confidence in Mr Darling and Gordon Brown has doubled in the past month – to 22 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

However, they still trail their Tory counterparts. David Cameron enjoys the confidence of 61 per cent of business leaders and the shadow Chancellor George Osborne 41 per cent.

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats' Treasury spokesman, scores 61 per cent, while the politician with the highest "confidence rating" is Kenneth Clarke, the shadow Business Secretary, on 69 per cent – almost twice as high as his opposite number Lord Mandelson (35 per cent).

Optimism about the state of the economy will be tempered by another set of gloomy monthly unemployment figures, to be issued three hours before the Budget. The number of jobless, currently 2,028,000, will be higher than when Labour came to power in 1997 if it rises above 2.05 million. Business groups and trade unions expect it to pass 3 million next year.

Mr Darling will claim that 500,000 jobs have been "protected" by action taken to combat the recession – such as interest cuts and the £20bn fiscal stimulus he unveiled last November.

He will announce that all 16-24 year-olds who have been out of work for 12 months will be guaranteed a paid job or a training place leaving them £20 a week better off than on state benefits. He will vow "never to return to the days when a generation of young people find themselves on the scrapheap". Promising "a Budget for jobs", the Chancellor will announce that 250,000 jobs or work placements will be created or supported in a joint effort by the Government, employers and local authorities.

Mr Darling will also pledge more help to the poorest people who need emergency loans or grants from the Government's Social Fund. Its budget, normally between £600m and £700m, will be boosted by £270m during the recession.

He will recognise the growing role in childcare played by grandparents. About 40,000 of them who are below the state pension age will benefit from a national insurance "credit" towards their state pension if they look after a child under 12 for at least 20 hours a week. Another 5,000 family carers will also benefit.

After a tussle with Lord Mandelson, Mr Darling has agreed to aid the struggling car industry by including a "scrappage" scheme. People will be paid up to £2,000 for replacing older cars with a new vehicle. Critics warn this will help foreign rather than British carmakers.

Yesterday the Government said that a year-long study of spending in the public sector had found scope for £15bn of efficiency savings from back-office operations and IT, collaborative procurement, asset management and sales, property and local incentives.

Advisers said around £6bn of savings would be delivered by 2010-11, contributing to the Government's £35bn efficiency target, with the rest achieved by the end of the next three-year spending period. Mr Darling will announce plans to save a further £10bn.

However, the advisers warned that the Government will have to take "sustained action" if it is to succeed in driving down the costs of running public services. They said there are "few easy wins" for the Government and that the full benefits of the efficiency programme will not be seen for another four years.

Theresa May, the Tory spokesman on work and pensions, said: "This Government is sleepwalking through this unemployment crisis recklessly casting millions of people adrift. No amount of spin can hide the fact that youth unemployment is at its highest level since 1995. This is a government that won't allow many people to retrain until after 18 months claiming jobseeker's allowance."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
Extras
indybest
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

£18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sales - Trainee Recruitment Co...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Progressive Rec.

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Progressive Recruitment are cu...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style