Thursday, April 18, 2024

31 George Osborne
Chancellor of the Exchequer - United Kingdom

George Osborne became Chancellor of the Exchequer in May 2010 after the formation of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government. Having expressed an interest in 'tax simplification' as far back as 2005 as a member of the Shadow Cabinet, Osborne may have to hold off on tax reform until the UK budgetary position is stronger, a task he set about achieving by outlining cuts of over �6 billion in his first month in office.

His plans for an immediate �11 billion downpayment on fiscal consolidation has kick started a process of real expenditure cutting in the UK, a project that, while mooted to some degree under the previous Chancellor, Alastair Darling, lacked the top level political drive of a Gordon Brown-dominated Government in election mode.

Osborne, who has a close working relationship with his Prime Minister (not a feature of the relationship between No. 10 and 11 Downing Street in the previous Government), has also hit the ground running in mobilising the Treasury, in conjunction with the UK's new Office for Budget Responsibility, to engage in the serious managerial work of public expenditure reform and reduction.

He has also been quick into the financial services fray on the issue of a proposal for a bank tax/levy, if not directly supporting the views of Canada, Japan, and Brazil, at least pitching the UK's muscle against the idea of global funds for future failures in G20 countries, arguing against the concept of a fund for the disposition of such revenues, and rather for the deployment of such revenues in the general budget.

London and the UK's financial services industry is generally welcoming of the UK's new Coalition Government on the grounds that measures which reduce London's international competitiveness as a financial centre (for example taxes on 'non doms') are now less likely under the new administration. This impression is emphasised also from early speeches from Conservative colleagues, such as Financial Secretary of the Treasury Mark Hoban, Mark Field MP, and Vicky Ford MEP in the European Parliament.