SIR – It has been suggested that the deficit reduction programme set out by George Osborne in his emergency Budget should be watered down and spread over more than one parliament. We believe that this would be a mistake.
Addressing the debt problem in a decisive way will improve business and consumer confidence. Reducing the deficit more slowly would mean additional borrowing every year, higher national debt, and therefore higher spending on interest payments.
The cost of delay would result in almost £100 billion of additional national debt by the end of this parliament alone. In the end, the result would be deeper cuts, or further tax rises, in order to pay for the extra debt interest.
The cost of delay could be even greater than this. As recent events in some European countries have demonstrated, if the markets lose faith in Britain, interest rates will rise for all of us.
There is no reason to think that the pace of consolidation envisaged in the Budget will undermine the recovery.
The private sector should be more than capable of generating additional jobs to replace those lost in the public sector, and the redeployment of people to more productive activities will improve economic performance, so generating more employment opportunities.
So, each writing in our personal capacity, we would encourage George Osborne and the Government to press ahead with his plans to reduce the deficit.
In the long run it will deliver a healthier and more stable economy.
CEO, Dunelm Group
Chairman, L.K. Bennett
Chief Executive, Kingfisher
Chairman, SSL International, moneysupermarket.com, Britvic
Executive Chairman, Towergate
Chairman and CEO, Dhillon Group
Chairman, Carphone Warehouse Group
Chairman, TalkTalk Telecom Group
CEO, ARM Holdings
Managing Director, Microsoft UK
Sir Christopher Gent
Non-Executive Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline
Chief Executive, Mothercare
Chairman, Reed Elsevier
Chief Executive, Tullow Oil
Chairman, Prestbury Group
CEO, BT Group
CEO, MITIE Group
CFO, Inmarsat; Non-Executive Director lovefilms.com, The Betting Group
Executive Chairman, Alliance Boots
Sir Stuart Rose
Chairman, Marks & Spencer
Chairman and CEO, Inmarsat
Executive Chairman, Fuller, Smith and Turner
Chief Executive, Sage
Chief Executive, Diageo
CEO, Robert Walters
Chief Executive, Harvey Nichols
Chairman, Expansys, Stonehaven Associates, Yell Group
Chief Executive, Next