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Let me finish this point. One genuine philosophical difference we have with the Opposition is on how best to help those on low and modest pay. The Opposition believe in using targeted means-tested benefits. By contrast, we believe that the best way of doing this is by lifting low earners out of tax—880,000 on
The test of the Budget will not be the response of the political world or this debate. It will be the response of the business community, which has to invest for recovery. It is worth reviewing what the business community has said about the Budget as it has often been critical of Budgets in the past. The British Chamber of Commerce said:
“Despite tight fiscal conditions we are encouraged that the Chancellor has prioritised business growth and private sector expansion alongside deficit reduction”.
The Engineering Employers Federation—the manufacturers —commented:
“The Growth Review has now started to deliver tangible progress in removing the barriers to growth investment and job creation in the UK”.
And the CBI concluded:
“This budget will help businesses grow and create jobs”.
The Government recognise that the road back to balanced, sustainable recovery will be painful and difficult, but we are on the right track. As the head of the OECD put it, we must “stick with it”.