UK business leaders criticise 'patronising' Darling

The UK's political row over National Insurance (NI) rises intensified today as British business leaders dismissed “patronising” claims that they had been fooled into backing the opposition Conservative Party's plans.

The UK's political row over National Insurance (NI) rises intensified today as British business leaders dismissed “patronising” claims that they had been fooled into backing the opposition Conservative Party's plans.

British Chancellor Alistair Darling accused his counterpart George Osborne of “peddling a deception” after 23 senior business figures endorsed moves to curb the UK government’s NI hikes.

Mr Darling suggested the businessmen needed to take a “long hard look” at Conservative proposals, rather than accepting “flimsy advice”.

Two of the individuals who signed a joint letter to the Daily Telegraph hit back immediately however, saying the British government is levying a “tax on jobs”.

Simon Wolfson, boss of fashion chain Next, said in a statement: “Of course we have not been deceived.

“The principle is a very simple one. It is question of, do we pay for government profligacy through increased taxes or do we urge them to save money in a way that businesses have?”

Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire said: “It’s a little patronising to suggest that we’ve been deceived.

“This isn’t a political point, it’s a business issue – whichever way you look at it, it’s a tax on jobs.”

More in this section

The Business Hub
Newsletter

News and analysis on business, money and jobs from Munster and beyond by our expert team of business writers.

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Lunchtime
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up