Led by Confederation of British Industry boss Richard Lambert, the Institute of Directors, British Chambers of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) moved swiftly to voice their concerns on behalf of small-business owners and entrepreneurs facing an 80 per cent increase in their tax bill.
‘Flip-flopping Darling… failed to hit private equity and injured Britain’s entrepreneurial base instead’, said The Daily Telegraph’s city editor Damian Reece (21 October), whose paper’s online petition boasted 13,000 signatures compared with the Daily Mail’s 1,000.
Trade and investment minister Digby Jones was accused of failing to ‘put his head above the parapet’, according to the FSB’s head of parliamentary affairs Stephen Alambritis (Mail on Sunday, 21 October).
The talks between the lobby group leaders and Alistair Darling were described as ‘constructive’ (The Guardian), ‘cordial rather than friendly’ (FT), and ‘tense’ (Daily Mail). There seemed little hope of getting the Government to rethink.