UK Budget Deficit – Harsh Choices Ahead

As the UK Budget gets closer, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has polled its UK members asking the question:

Given the current state of UK public finances, which of the following do you think is a better proposal from the government to deal with the UK budget deficit?

  • Cuts in public spending
  • An increase in National Insurance Contributions
  • Both

56% of those polled would favour proposed cuts in public spending from the government to deal with the UK budget deficit.

The least appealing policy solution would be an increase in national insurance contributions, with only 5% agreeing with this as a remedy.

However, 21% of respondents consider that a combination of the proposed two measures – cuts in public spending and an increase in national insurance contributions – would be a viable option for the government to pursue.

A further 18% said that neither of the two options would be strong proposals to deal with the budget deficit.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at ACCA, says:

“As we approach a General Election and a spring Budget, this is an interesting snapshot from a cross section of the profession about how the UK’s deficit could be handled.”

“National Insurance Contributions will rise in April 2011 anyway, and it does not seem too far-fetched for a government to raise both NICs and cut public spending. Tackling this economic deficit will be a difficult policy decision to make for whatever hue of government is voted into power. There is little doubt that 2010 will be about making tough and possibly unpopular policy decisions. But ACCA members have clearly indicated that tax increases would be the soft option and they favour spending cuts.”

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