An Ed Miliband led-government would ‘threaten jobs and deter investment’ according to a coalition of over 100 leading British business figures.
In an open letter to The Telegraph, more than 100 senior executives from leading British companies warned against any “change in course” after the General Election on May 7.
The letter came hours after Ed Balls announced a Labour government would reverse the cut in corporation tax made by the coalition government. The cut, which is due to take effect later this month, will see corporation tax drop to 20%.
“It has been a key part of their (the Government’s) economic plan,” the executives said in their letter.
“We believe a change in course will threaten jobs and deter investment. This would send a negative message about Britain and put the recovery at risk.”
A large number of the business figures who signed the letter are Tory peers or donors, including Sir Charles Dunstone, the chairman of Dixons Carphone and Talk Talk plc and Baroness Karen Brady, a Conservative peer and aide to Lord Sugar in The Apprentice. Former Labour supporter and ex-Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne also signed the letter.
However, a report published this morning sees leading economic experts criticising the coalition government’s austerity measures.
The Centre for Macroeconomics, which groups leading economists from Cambridge University, LSE, University College London (UCL), the Bank of England and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), polled 50 economic experts on whether the “austerity policies of the coalition government have had a positive effect on aggregate economic activity in the UK.”
Two-thirds of the 33 economists who responded disagreed or strongly disagreed with the proposition that austerity had been good for the UK.
Among those who disagreed strongly that austerity had been a good thing, Oxford University’s Simon Wren-Lewis said: “the only interesting question is how much GDP has been lost as a result of austerity.”
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna dismissed the letter from the executives as “nothing new”.
He said: “No one will be surprised that some business people are calling for low taxes for big businesses. That’s nothing new and under Labour Britain will have the most competitive corporation tax rate in the G7.
“But whilst the recovery may have reached some firms it hasn’t reached many others which is why we will prioritise tax cuts for the smallest firms with an immediate cut in business rates for 1.5 million small business premises.
“We don’t believe, as David Cameron does, in more tax cuts for the richest in society – the priority is tax cuts for small firms, working people and saving our NHS.”