By Tim Montgomerie
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If Osborne has got macroeconomic policy largely right (here) he's been very slow with microeconomic policy. Yes, the welfare, education and planning reforms will enhance long-term competitiveness but British business needs help now. Despite the urging of ConHome – and many more important than us – there was no big growth strategy at the beginning of this government. Eighteen months later we may finally be getting closer to some urgent help for business although it remains to be seen if initiatives like credit easing and the infrastructure plan will live up to their press released promise. People like Allister Heath are certainly justified in their concern that more might be being announced than that which is being delivered. This is what he wrote today in City AM:
"Osborne should be commended for the government’s decision to exempt firms with under 50 staff from the Nest pension auto-enrolment scheme (though he should have postponed it for everybody). Chris Grayling’s bid to reduce health and safety red tape is equally welcome, assuming that it is more than mere rhetoric or trivial (as ever, I will believe it when I see it). The same is true of the reforms to employment law launched by Vince Cable – though, once again, change is taking a long time and various measures have been reannounced several times already, which is worrying."
We don't need talk of consultations tomorrow. We need action.
> Test four at 1pm: Will Osborne simplify or complicate the economy?