From the business desk: cynical talk helps provide view on election which is refreshingly clear

Business reporter Oli Poole
Business reporter Oli Poole
  • Top economist visited Shoreham
  • Cynical talk saw no political party free from scrutiny

AS a journalist, it is generally helpful to take a cynical view on things.

We must hold authorities to account, question those in power and sort the gems of interesting information from the expanse of PR puff.

With this in mind, Institute for Fiscal Studies director Paul Johnson’s talk in Shoreham on Friday was right up my street.

The leading economist, educated at King’s Manor – now Shoreham Academy – has been the broadcasters’ ‘go to’ man for comment on the general election so far.

Approaching the topic from an independent viewpoint, Mr Johnson’s cynical stance was a refreshing take on everything from the deficit to employment and business issues.

And no political party was safe from Mr Johnson’s scrutiny, as readers will discover from our detailed coverage on these pages and further forward in the news pages.

One example of political spin was evident in Mr Johnson’s talk.

He highlighted how the Conservatives are telling families they are £900 better off, yet Labour are adamant they are £1,600 worse off.

Such conflicting views are an unhelpful part of the debate. How are voters supposed to trust those in power, without a full explanation of where the figures come from?

Businesses and residents should be confident in assessing what the parties are pledging – and if their numbers add up – without the need to rely on an outside figure to provide clarity to the concepts.

So it is with that in mind, coupled with my already cynical viewpoint, that the IFS will be my first point of call when deciding how to cast my vote on May 7.

In other news, Adur and Worthing councils director for the economy Scott Mitchell has surprised colleagues by announcing his resignation, just under a year into the role.

Since his appointment – and the re-organisation of the council’s top table – I have heard by far the most positive feedback on the new recruits about Mr Marshall.

While it is good news the recruitment process is underway, it is crucial the right replacement is found swiftly.

These things take time and due process must be followed, so I hope the council has made adequate provisions to fill his role in the interim. Without this, the concerns of business figures could well be justified.